Year-old study shows false promise of ‘assault rifle’ ban

A much overlooked report from one year ago has some revealing information about so-called “assault rifles.” (Dave Workman image)

A year-old study of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI Uniform Crime Reports by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) revealed what Second Amendment activists have known for a long time: semiautomatic rifles “compose a fraction of all the rifles used in crime.”

The revelation was published Jan. 11, 2019 and it did not get much, if any, attention from the establishment media. Gun owners who have come to distrust the press aren’t surprised, since—they believe—the conclusion doesn’t concur with the gun control narrative.

But now, with proposals to ban such guns looming in Washington, Oregon, Virginia and elsewhere, this overlooked information has fresh value. According to Reuters, six states have already banned such firearms.

Anti-gun Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson support such a ban, which led more than 86,000 Washingtonians to sign an online petition calling for their removal from office.

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As noted in the FEE report, raw data from the FBI looks at homicides committed with rifles of any type, so those involving so-called “assault rifles” are a fraction of all slayings in any given year. Rifles are used an average of 340 homicides annually, FEE estimated using data from 2007-2017, and perhaps as many as 439 slayings each year.

Still, the report noted, “Believe it or not, between 2007 and 2017, nearly 1,700 people were murdered with a knife or sharp object per year. That’s almost four times the number of people murdered by an assailant with any sort of rifle.”

“In any given year,” the story added, “for every person murdered with a rifle, there are 15 murdered with handguns, 1.7 with hands or fists, and 1.2 with blunt instruments. In fact, homicides with any sort of rifle represent a mere 3.2 percent of all homicides on average over the past decade.”

That’s not the kind of information the gun prohibition lobby wants people to be thinking about, say rights activists.

Reuters quoted Gov. Inslee, who recently stated, “We should be making it harder for those who want to inflict mass violence and destruction upon innocent people. By limiting magazine capacity and banning assault weapons, we can work toward a day where no one in Washington state loses a friend or family members to senseless gun violence.”

But that assertion is in doubt, considering the FBI data. The FEE report referred to a New York Times analysis from February 2018 that counted 173 people who had been killed in mass shootings involving AR-15 type rifles from 2007 through 2017.

“That’s 173 over a span of a decade,” the FEE report said, “with an average of 17 homicides per year. To put this in perspective, consider that at this rate it would take almost one-hundred years of mass shootings with AR-15s to produce the same number of homicide victims that knives and sharp objects produce in one year.” (Emphasis in original story.)

Bottom line, according to the year-old FEE report: “Banning or confiscating such firearms from the civilian population would likely produce little to no reduction in violent crime rates in America.”


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