by Peter Grady –
While many liberals and media outlets are calling for restrictions on gun owners including national registration and a ban on assault weapons and handguns saying these weapons are used excessively in murders, information from the FBI shows these groups are going after the wrong weapon of choice among criminals.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, members of the media including the Greeley Tribune have criticized the NRA for opposing outlawing certain types of weapons. In a recent column the Tribune said public safety should be the primary consideration over the Constitutional right to bear arms.
“While leaders of the NRA and other gun organizations gave lip service to being part of the solution, they also made it clear they would fight any attempt to restrict sale or ownership of any kind of firearms. In their view, their rights to own virtually any weapon they choose trumps public safety, even in the wake of the massacre of 20 children and six adults last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.”
Veteran reporter Mike Peters echoed similar sentiments saying it was time we consider a ban on weapons such as semi-automatic handguns. “Why would hunters want a semi-automatic handgun, used for shooting people? This week, Colorado’s Governor spoke out against some weapons and said we should consider a ban. You’re damn right we should.”
However, according to FBI statistics the weapons these groups want banned are not the weapon of choice for criminals and if they were truly serious about curbing murders and violence they would be going after hammers rather than assault rifles.
According to FBI statistics for 2010, rifles, as in assault rifle, were used in only 358 murders that year. By contrast 1,704 people were killed with a knife or blade. Hands or fists were the weapon of choice in 745 murders.
While handguns were listed are resulting in 6,009 shootings many of these were gang-related and includes suicides. By using these statistics to advocate for banning handguns, gun control activists are apparently suggesting that outlawing handguns would prevent suicides.
However, the FBI has also revealed another weapon of choice that kills almost twice as many people as rifles do. According to Breitbart, in 2005 the number of murders committed with a rifle was 445 but 605 people were killed with a hammer or other blunt object.
The numbers are remarkably consistent for each year with 323 murders committed by a rifle with 496 killed by hammers and clubs in 2011. The small number of murders with a rifle are striking when one considers that the assault weapon ban is expired, thus showing that liberal fears legalizing such weapons would result in blood in the streets are unfounded.
Based on these statistics the Tribune and other media outlets should be calling for hammer control since these are obviously the weapon of choice of criminals over rifles. Instead the reaction has been one of dismissing the facts as presented.
Salon.com stated that it is disingenuous to suggest that if someone wants to ban a particular object for the action of a criminal we should start with the weapons most often used
“Set aside the fact that hammers and kitchen knives and cars are useful things outside of their capacity to maim, banning them would have tremendous negative impact on our economy and lifestyles.”
They then suggest the only purpose for guns is to provide a way for criminals to use in the furtherance of their crimes. “Guns, on the other hand, are designed specifically, primarily and exclusively for one purpose — to kill things.”
This ignores the fact that many times guns are used to defend an individual and many times the mere presence of a gun has actually served as a deterrent to prevent a violent crime from taking place.
The piece goes on to admit that assault weapons which president Obama and other Democratic lawmakers want to ban are hardly ever used in crimes. “assault rifles are used in a tiny fraction of guns crimes, about 2 to 8 percent, but petty crime was never the main target of the Assault Weapon Ban.
If our politicians are serious about preventing violence than it is obvious they are looking at the wrong source. It remains to be seen if liberals and members of the media will be honest in their willingness to go after the real weapons of choice.