The tragedy that took place in Connecticut just over two weeks ago weighs heavy on my mind. I watched with the nation in horror as the reports came in…children, the essence of innocence, shot dead at point blank range. Reports kept coming in, and depending on what news channel you watched, it was reported that an assault rifle, along with a couple handguns, were used by the heinous killer.
Days went by, and while the mourning increased, more news was reported…and you could start to feel the beginning of the “gun control” lobby messaging forming. “Who needs an assault rifle?” was a big question being asked. “Why are high capacity magazines even allowed?” the news anchors discussed. Quietly they waited their time. Funerals started to take place; the swell was gaining. How can we stop this from happening again? The nation is still in shock…but the tide was rising.
And now all 26 of the bodies have been buried. The mourning continues, but as they say, life goes on. The mainstream media and politicians are back at it…some calling for armed guards in schools, some calling for the confiscation of assault rifles…if not all guns. Some are calling for changes in public policy as it concerns mental illness. Some are calling for more guns to defend themselves. And while everyone has an opinion on the matter, I would like to take a look at some facts.
Fact 1 – These weapons are currently legal to own. It wasn’t until 1994 that most semi-automatic weapons that are know as “assault rifles” and fully automatic weapons were banned. That ban ended in 2004 and full/semi-automatic rifles are once again legal to own.
Fact 2 – This week, the President appointed a task force, led by VP Joe Biden, and promises the taskforce will make proposals for new laws and actions in January, and he will push the new gun control proposals to Congress. Can you smell an “assault rifle” ban brewing?
Fact 3 – According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2011 there were 12,664 murders in the United States. Of those murders, 8,583 were committed with firearms (67.8%) and 4,081 murders were committed by knives or cutting instruments; other weapons and hands, fists and feet, including pushing (32.3%).
For the 8,583 murders that were committed in 2011 with firearms, according to the FBI, 323 were with rifles and 6,220 were with handguns. Yes, rifles were used in only 3.7% of firearm murders and 2.5% of ALL murders. Here is a nice breakdown for you visual readers:
Total Murders 12,644
Total Firearms 8,583 (67.8% of all murders)
Handguns – 6,220 – 72.5% of all firearm murders
Rifles – 323 – 3.77% of all firearm murders
Shotguns - 356 – 4.14% of all firearm murders
Unknown – 1,684 – 19.6% of all firearm murders
Total Non-Firearm murders – 4,081
Knives - 1,694 (includes all cutting instruments)
Other – 1,659 (I guess this is baseball bats, frying pans and golf clubs)
Hands, fists, feet etc. – 728 (includes pushing)
Interesting stats to point out:
* In 2011, if you were murdered, it was more than twice as likely to be by someone’s fist than by a rifle.
* 10 states had ZERO deaths by rifles, only 1 state, Wyoming, did not have a knife murder.
* More people were murdered by knives, other weapons and hand/feet/fist at a rate of 12:1 over rifles.
Side note – If you want to die of something ELSE other than murder, the best states to live in were Hawaii (7) and Vermont (8)
Ok, back to my point. While in the wake of this horrific event that transpired in Newtown, Connecticut, the words “assault rifle” were used COUNTLESS times by our politicians and mass media. But why? I deduce it was/is a scarier word/phrase than handgun. Yes, scarier. Easier to market to the masses as needing banned or controlled. Really, a grenade launcher can be put on a rifle…why? Who needs grenades? Also, who likes the word “assault?” When can that ever be used in a positive light? It is just an easy scare tactic to brand into Americans minds.
What else could it be? Clearly no one bothered to look at the statistics. Rifles, assault or not, are clearly not the choice of murderers. Why is the emphasis being placed on rifles and not handguns? The stats are overwhelming in the fact that people who murder love to use handguns…above any other weapon.
Just like the fiscal cliff issue, stay with me, politicians are fighting over higher tax rates, that if passed would only fund the United States Government for less than 10 days (CBO stats, not mine). They are fighting over something that DOESN’T matter, and I mean that in the context of a 1.3 trillion dollar a year budget deficit and 16+ trillion in national debt. We have a SPENDING problem, not a taxing problem. And while “they” try to pull the wool over our eyes, trying to sell America on believing we have an “assault rifle” problem, we don’t. We have a VIOLENCE problem. (I might even be persuaded by my friends on the left to even say we have a HANDGUN problem…at least that is more genuine.)
Don’t you see, this isn’t about gun control, it’s about acting as if government, in any way shape or form can, be the answer to our problems….and I am sorry to say, for most of us, it cannot. So they place a law banning “assault rifles,” how did that work out for us in 2000-2004 – 5 years of the “ban?”
Year Deaths by Rifles Death by Hand Feet Fist, etc.
2000 411 927
2001 386 961
2002 488 954
2003 392 962
2004 393 933
I am not an educated man, but this smacks me like you would smack a red headed stepchild. Isn’t it obvious to anyone that even during the ban, rifle deaths were higher than in 2011 (323 murders). Also, murder by hand, feet, fist etc. is almost always double of that of rifles!
You cannot, and I repeat, you cannot legislate morality. And if politicians don’t look like they are doing something to win your vote, then why do we need them? Why do we look to them to help us? Why do we empower the corrupt? Why do we not hold their feet to the fire and make them reduce spending? Increase mandatory sentencing for gun related crimes? These are the real issues that need addressed. The assault on “assault rifles” is just a red herring.
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