No doubt many of you have heard about the NY Times’ piece admitting that assault weapon bans are useless, trivial, stupid, and only based on politics … not reality. Well, I finally got around to writing about it. The reason I wanted to was that I’ve noticed nearly everyone ignore that the NY Times was still wrong on the issue of mass shootings in that same article. It seems gun advocates ran to the presses in their joy over the NY Times’ reversing themselves, that they failed to do any research. So even though they took a step in the right direction (in this article at least), they are still peddling myths used by the ignorant to take your guns away.
But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.
It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do….
The continuing focus on assault weapons stems from the media’s obsessive focus on mass shootings, which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M16 rifle. This, in turn, obscures some grim truths about who is really dying from gunshots.
“Which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15.” That … that right there is the lie. Also, according to the FBI there are not 11,000 murders by firearms every year. The number is 8500-9000 total. More than 2000 shy of the 11,000 false total in the article. They are still peddling falsehoods about mass shootings. If you follow this issue, you already know that line is false. For the rest of you, I’ll prove it now.
The Washington Post and Mother Jones, both anti-gun left-leaning outlets, published pieces in May of this year saying that since 1984 the guns used in mass shootings are as follows:
- Shotguns – 22
- Revolvers – 23
- Rifles (all kinds) – 29
- Semi-auto handguns – 77
So left-wing Mother Jones and WaPo both say that the NY Times’ assertion that mass shootings involve aggressively styled hunting rifles like the AR-15 ‘disproportionately’ is false … by a wide margin. We also have to factor in that all rifles are lumped into one category. No doubt they did that on purpose to try and inflate the number of rifle shootings, but ultimately couldn’t do so. That’s another topic for another day.
The FBI states that out of all active shooter events (not just mass-shootings), rifles (again, ALL rifles) were involved just 26% of the time. Pistols were the majority weapon of choice for active shooter gunmen at 59%.
I also have research from Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Senior Legislative Attorney with the Connecticut General Assembly from January 2013. This paper goes back to April 2009, and logs 49 shootings which have two or more victims. Typically, 3 or more is considered a ‘mass-shooting’, but we’ll play along.
Since April of 2009 the mass-shootings are as follows according to Janet Kaminski Leduc:
- Pistol (revolvers included) – 38
- Rifles (all types) – 10
The rifle category includes bolt-action non-AR-15 style varieties. So the actual number of aggressively styled hunting rifles (or modern sporting rifles if you prefer) is much lower than 10. I’ll leave shotguns off of the list since they aren’t really discussed in this issue by the anti-gun crowd. Many of these shootings involved multiple types of weapons so the number of weapons used will be higher than the actual number of shootings. It also doesn’t account for what weapons were actually fired during the shootings. Just because someone had a rifle with them doesn’t mean they actually used it. There have been several recent cases where the rifle was a backup weapon that wasn’t used by the gunman.
Nonetheless, you can plainly see that the NY Times was wrong about AR-15 style rifles being ‘disproportionately’ used in mass-shootings. They not only aren’t ‘disproportionately’ used, they are one of the rarest category of firearm used in mass shootings.