Before we start, answer a question in your mind and hold that answer. The question is, how many people do you think are killed in the United States with AR’s? 3000? 10,000? Get a number in your head and hold it. We’ll find the real answer and compare it to you perception.
The hot topic of the day seems to be, “We have to do something about all of these mass shootings!” Cries for gun control come screaming to the top of the headlines. Victims and families plead with the Government to just do something, anything! The most common suggestion that we hear has something to do with an “assault rifle ban”. Let’s forget that nobody calling for such a ban knows exactly what defines an assault rifle, or if such a ban is even Constitutional. Most of these debates are just manipulating the definition of various words, or principles in order to advance the agenda of any participant. One phrase we hear a lot is “common sense reform”. Common sense isn’t very common. People are not allowed to execute common sense when they aren’t provided with facts. When you are manipulated with an agenda driven narrative and not facts for which to draw a reasonable conclusion, you are robbed of your own common sense. Common sense then would mandate that we have to ask if such people really want to do something that will actually save lives. So, let’s take a look at the hard numbers, and see what, if anything, a ban on these rifles would accomplish.
Fortunately, there has been a ton of data collected on this topic. We are able to use the hard numbers to research this and find out some solid information with which we then can use to help come up with sound policy, that will actually work. We can start with the FBI’s Bureau of Crime Statistics. These guys collect massive amounts of data on every crime committed in the United States. The methodology is astounding as not only do they use police and court reports, but they use mainstream and social media reports as well. As we know full well that the police and courts reporting doesn’t tell the whole story for every crime. The FBI publishes this information publicly for anyone to review. It’s this data that universities and organizations use in order to conduct various surveys and research. The latest report we have is for 2016, as it takes several months to compile and vet the data.
Above is their findings for all murders in the United States and with what weapons. Staying on topic, let’s focus on assault rifles. Do you see such a category? It doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t recorded here. Assault Rifles are included in the umbrella category of Rifles. Remember that number that I asked you to keep in mind at the beginning of the article? Let’s see how it compares to the actual numbers! It looks like 2016 was a particularly bad year with 374 people murdered with rifles. That includes bolt action, lever action, single shot, and all other kind of rifle, not just AR’s. To be clear, AR’s did not kill 374 people in 2016. But, for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that 100% of rifle murders were done by AR’s.
The total murders in the United States in 2016 was 15,070 lives lost. That’s truly a sickening number. Also sick is the total firearms related murders. 11,004 people were gunned down in the United States in 2016. That’s just insane! So, something needs to be done, obviously, but are AR’s where we should start? 374 murders by all rifles is only 3.4% of all firearm murders. Obviously, much less than that is attributed to AR’s as they are a subset of that number. If you have a massive problem is targeting 3.4% of the issue really going to make a dent? Is that really the best place to start?
But wait…. there’s more…
Are average AR owners responsible for this 3.4% bloodbath? Who is conducting these murders, and where!? Clearly if you want to solve the issue, and really save lives, you need to be effective. Go after the population responsible! Anything else would be disingenuous and indicative of another agenda.
The FBI shows us that the following cities account for 90% of all gun violence in America. Of the 11k gun murders in America during 2016, 9500 of them happened in these 5 cities.
New York City
If we want to save lives, and actually use common sense in order to address gun violence, we should start here! Why on Earth would you target 3.4% when you can address 90%!? So, what is happening in these cities that has allowed for such slaughter? Where are these attacks happening in these cities?
The database shows us that the vast majority of these crimes are happening in impoverished, gang controlled areas. Low income areas are always breeding grounds for crime. Gangs have capitalized on this. They give young people a sense of belonging and power. A sense of family that they do not have at home. They are taught to defend and protect the gang with their lives, just as they would be expected to defend and protect their own families,
I would submit that if politicians, activists, and those genuinely interested in addressing gun violence in America, should focus on addressing the root causes of poverty and gang activity, rather than placing the blame on something that won’t even address 3% of lives lost. If your focus is on 3%, you’re not serious about addressing gun violence.
This article hasn’t even touched on the relationship of mental illness and gun violence, which if addressed in combination with the above would resolve 99% of the issue. It’s clear to see that if you are calling for a ban on AR’s, then you have zero interest in actually addressing gun violence in America.