October 22, 2020
By Mark Chesnut
It’s easy to tell when a politician is either ignorant about an important topic or is knowingly pushing over-the-top lies about that topic to serve a larger political agenda. When that is happening, the politician will completely ignore facts that run contrary to his or her political stance, relying instead on rhetoric and villainization.
Such is the case with Joe Biden and his insistence that what the country really needs to curtail violent crime is an “assault weapons ban” like the one he was involved in passing back in the 1990s during the Bill Clinton administration.
In fact, if you listen to Biden, his running mate Kamala Harris or just about any other Democrat politician or anti-gun activist, you’d think AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles were the bane of human existence. Indeed, just by watching and listening to so-called “mainstream” media, you would think there was a mass shooting involving an AR-15 every day of the week.
And, you’d be wrong. Quite wrong, actually.
While perusing the recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Report, I thought it might be a fun exercise to see how many of the murders included in that document involved murderers using rifles to commit their nefarious deeds. And while I wasn’t surprised with what I found, those who have let the media shape their opinion on semi-automatic rifles might not believe the results.
The FBI classifies homicides in various ways, including those for which it has “supplemental data.” That means the agency knows what weapon was used and other circumstances of the murder.
Of the 13,927 murders in 2019 that the FBI had supplemental data for, a total of only 361 were committed using a rifle of any kind. That’s just over 2.5 percent of those murders. And, since semi-auto rifles are just a subset of all rifles (which includes other operating systems: single shot, pump action, bolt action, and lever action), this shows that far less than 2.5 percent of murders are committed by criminals using the much-hated, often-maligned AR-15.
In fact, several other means of murder show up on the report far more often than rifles. Cutting instruments (knives) were used in 1,476 murders in 2019—four times more than rifles. Personal weapons (hands, fists and feet) and blunt objects were also both used in homicides more often than rifles, accounting for 600 and 397 murders, respectively.
Yet Biden blathers on about banning semi-autos, and loves to talk about how he was instrumental in the 1990’s ban. He never, however, mentions how that ban failed to have any effect on murders and was allowed by Congress to sunset after 10 years.
Given the fact that ARs are used in a very small number of murders, why are Biden, Harris and the national Democrat party pushing for a so-called “assault weapons ban” more than any other firearm restriction? Here’s a hint: It’s not about stopping violent crime. It’s about gaining more power over the American people.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.