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.

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

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