The Corner

Everything You Need to Know about ‘Assault’ Weapons in One Chart

Gun-control advocates are always talking about a ban on so-called “assault” weapons – but doing so would have no impact on gun violence. As Charles C.W. Cooke wrote yesterday

It is difficult to overstate just how absurd this is. Even if we were to swallow whole the novel set of definitions that the advocates of “assault”-weapons legislation have imposed upon our national deliberations, the case in favor of their coveted laws would remain all but nonexistent. Between 1994 and 2004, Americans were flatly barred from purchasing or transferring 660 arbitrarily selected semi-automatic firearms and from obtaining any magazine that could hold more than ten rounds. This prohibition had no discernible impact whatsoever. Charged in 1997 with evaluating the short-term impact of the measure, the National Institute of Justice reported bluntly that “the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect (i.e., that the effect was different from zero).” A second study – commissioned to coincide with the ban’s expiration in 2004 — calmly echoed this conclusion, while noting for the record that there hadn’t been much of a problem in the first instance. No subsequent inquiry has contradicted these assessments.

In fact, rifles are the least popular killing tools in the United States. Per the FBI, this is how Americans killed each other in 2014:

  • Handguns: 5,562 (47 percent)
  • Unknown firearms: 2,052 (17 percent)
  • Other weapons: 1,610 (13 percent)
  • Knives and Cutting Instruments: 1,567 (13 percent)
  • Hands, feet, fists, pushing: 660 (6 percent)
  • Shotguns: 262 (2 percent) Rifles: 248 (2 percent) 

By definition, we cannot know what is inside that “unknown firearms” category. So, for the sake of argument, let’s distribute it proportionately among the existing firearms groups:

  • Handguns: 7,442 (62 percent)
  • Other weapons: 1,610 (13 percent)
  • Knives and Cutting Instruments: 1,567 (13 percent)
  • Hands, feet, fists, pushing: 660 (6 percent)
  • Shotguns: 350 (3 percent)
  • Rifles: 332 (3 percent)

Read Cooke’s full piece HERE.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

Most Popular


Newsflash: McCabe Not Really Losing His Pension

The news that FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired hours before qualifying for retirement with full benefits somehow grew over the weekend into a false impression that the career FBI agent was stripped of his pension altogether. [jwplayer GlHOavPa-wKJ9CRQU] Members of the media remarked that McCabe ... Read More
Economy & Business

CRISPR Will Make GMOs Ubiquitous

Labels multiply in supermarkets faster than salmonella at a convenience-store sushi bar. It’s important to keep up; we should all be well-informed eaters. But the onslaught of clean food, natural products, sustainably produced, gluten free, butterflies everywhere, and GMO-free sea salt are just too much. The ... Read More
White House

All Trump All the Time

It can be hard to keep one’s wits about oneself during the Age of Trump. Our president is like the ringmaster of a circus, and the American people are his enthralled spectators. It seems as if we cannot get enough. Love him or hate him, he remains at the center of our public consciousness. It is hard to ... Read More

The Pope Francis Challenge

An unforced error from a Vatican communications office the other day drove me a little something like crazy. The nature of the unforced error is that it is wholly unnecessary and typically distracting. And so it was. Days before, as the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election as pope was approaching, a ... Read More
White House

Why Tillerson Had to Go

Of all the abrupt comings and goings in this administration, the dismissal of Rex Tillerson is undoubtedly the most important — maybe one of the most important firings since Harry Truman fired Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War. By dismissing MacArthur, Truman drew a firm line between military and ... Read More