U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The Maryland Attorney General filed a recent amicus brief with the US Supreme Court. Attorney General Brian Frosh said that the state is justified in banning modern rifles because those weapons have been used to commit mass murder. AG Frosh mentions violent attacks that happened outside of Maryland. For some reason, the Attorney General failed to mention the far larger number of cases where honest citizens used a rifle for justified self-defense. If this is an omission then it is an oversight the size of the Grand Canyon.
The AG’s report goes back a decade to find 150 deaths that were attributed to a mass murderer who used a modern rifle at some time during his attack. What we don’t know is why the Attorney General stopped there.
Why didn’t the AG also mention that rifles like these are in common use and were routinely used for armed defense? I am not saying that those firearms could be used for armed defense. I’m saying that they were used, are used, and will be used for armed defense every day.
You’d think a Supreme Court judge would like to know that. I suspect the judges would also like to know why the Maryland Attorney General chose to hide those facts. Let me show you how big a fabrication the AG presented.
We know that about 25 million people report owning a modern rifle in the US. We know that ordinary US citizens used firearms for armed defense about 1.7 million times each year.[a] We know they use a rifle in those defensive encounters about 13.1 percent of the time.
Honest citizens used a rifle in armed defense over 210 thousand times a year, or almost 600 times a day.
I don’t know how many of those rifles we used in armed defense were the particular make and model that the Attorney General wants to ban. I don’t know if each one of those self-defensive encounters would have resulted in death since the bad guy almost always runs away when he sees that grandma is armed. Those subtleties are interesting but they are overwhelmed by other facts. Firearms in the United States are almost always used in armed defense rather than being used for mass murder.
It is hard to know precisely which type of firearm is likely to be used in a crime because the firearm is not recovered in every case. In this case, the evidence is overwhelming. Rifles are a fraction of the guns owned by honest citizens, but rifles are still used ten times more often in armed defense than any firearm is used in any murder.
Let’s put what we know into perspective. Each day, honest citizens in the US use a rifle to prevent death or great bodily injury.
Armed citizens save many more lives with a rifle each day than are lost to mass murderers each year.
Should we do what we can to reduce mass murder? Of course, we should. So why haven’t we? In particular, why hasn’t the Maryland legislature fully funded state-sponsored treatment of the mentally ill?
The Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh used to be a Maryland State Senator. Perhaps the voters will ask him.
[a] * Even anti-gun Clinton researchers concede that guns are used 1.5 million times annually for self-defense. According to the Clinton Justice Department, there are as many as 1.5 million cases of self-defense every year. The National Institute of Justice published this figure in 1997 as part of “Guns in America” — a study which was authored by noted anti-gun criminologists Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig.
Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig, “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms,” NIJ Research in Brief (May 1997); available at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/165476.pdf on the internet. The finding of 1.5 million yearly self-defense cases did not sit well with the anti-gun bias of the study’s authors, who attempted to explain why there could not possibly be one and a half million cases of self-defense every year. Nevertheless, the 1.5 million figure is consistent with a mountain of independent surveys showing similar figures. The sponsors of these studies — nearly a dozen — are quite varied, and include anti-gun organizations, news media organizations, governments and commercial polling firms. See also Kleck and Gertz, supra note 1, pp. 182-183.
About Rob Morse
The original article, with sources, is posted here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at Second Call Defense, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.