Virginia, Washington and Oregon aren’t the only states where gun control battles threaten to heat up with the arrival of the new year, but grassroots activists can prepare by simply reading up on the FBI Uniform Crime Report’s state-by-state homicide and weapons breakdown.
Gun control advocates will typically go for the emotional arguments, talking about some “epidemic of gun violence,” but with a little savvy, Second Amendment stalwarts can use data to hammer those arguments into hash.
For example, in 2018—the most recent year for which crime data is available—the FBI says there were 14,124 homicides, of which 10,265 involved firearms.
Keep an eye on the year-end murder data in Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Chances are, more people will be killed in any one of those four cities this year than in your entire state in 2018. For example, even though murders have declined in Chicago this year—as this was written the Chicago Tribune was reporting 475 slayings already in 2019—that’s more killings in one city than the combined total of murders in several western states where gun ownership is high and gun laws are scarce.
In 2018, according to the FBI, 6,603 homicides were committed with handguns, 297 with rifles (of any kind) and 235 with shotguns. There were 3,130 gun-related murders in which the firearm was not identified.
Where anti-gun lawmakers make a push on so-called “assault rifles,” remind them that several times the number of people were killed with knives and other cutting instruments than with rifles in 2018, and that the pattern holds true for any given year. Likewise, more people were killed with blunt objects (443) than with rifles or shotguns.
More people were beaten, stomped, kicked and punched to death (668) than with either rifles or shotguns.
Murders with firearms have declined for the third year in a row, at a time when concealed carry figures have climbed to more than 18.6 million Americans licensed to carry across the 50 states.
Let’s look at Virginia, where anti-gun Gov. Ralph Northam plans to lead his Democrat friends in the General Assembly in a crusade against guns. Last year, Virginia reported 391 slayings of which 297 involved firearms, only eight of which are confirmed to have involved a rifle of any kind. Yet Northam wants to ban so-called “assault rifles.”
In 2017, Virginia posted 453 killings in which 338 involved firearms and again a fraction of those murders (11) were known to involve rifles of any kind. Yet, here comes Northam and his colleagues after rifles starting next month.
Just look for the FBI Uniform Crime Report for any given year with your favorite search engine, and start writing down numbers.
This data can become devastating to any gun control arguments, and it helps to have it handy if quizzed by a capitol reporter.
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