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“Assault Rifles” and Death in America

February 11, 2013

This is the third year in a row that I have done a piece like this to coincide with the State of the Union Address. The past two times I’ve simply focused on gun deaths versus other types of preventable deaths. With the latest tragedy and a renewed call for a ban on so-called “assault rifles”, I wanted to focus mostly on this type of weapon.

Gun control advocates use numbers and statistics to support their goals. The uneducated and uninformed public tend to believe things they hear on the news or other places they trust. But what if what they told you was wrong? Data collected by governmental agencies provides a very clear picture of the lives lost in our nation. The statistics are not in their favor.

There is lack of knowledge in our country. Lack of knowledge about a great many things, and firearms is one of the bigger areas. The myths and misconceptions abound in vast abundance.

I have been following the politics surrounding gun ownership since 1986. I was concerned then, as I am now, that for the sake of political convenience and exploitation, people twist and manipulate this issue to get what they want. What they want is more power. Politicians, journalists and special interest groups feign concern over public safety and “saving lives” in order to cover up their lust. They have an insatiable lust for power. Informed and well armed citizens are the barrier to their endless power. They will always do their best to limit both and to create uninformed and unarmed subjects. They have done well at creating an ignorant population and to our credit, they have thus far failed at disarming “We The People”.

FBI crime data shows that “gun violence” has been steadily declining. It is hardly the epidemic that gun control proponents try to make it out to be. Far too many people are murdered in this country, there is no doubt of that, but the heart of the problem is that there are too many people who are quick to take the lives of other people. This is a morality problem, not a firearm problem.

And why should we expect anything different. The same people who call for more gun control are also the staunchest of abortion supporters. Liberal “gun grabbers” support a womans “right” to terminate her pregnancy at any time before the birth of the child. Why should a society that can rationalize killing babies in the womb care whether or not adults and children live or die?

This is where the biggest and most obvious contradiction lies. Those who say they want to limit gun ownership because of the lives that could be saved incriminate themselves on abortion. Support for abortion is undeniable proof that gun control is not pursued in order to save lives. If lives were what mattered, then by their own conscience, they would adamantly oppose abortion.

The Centers for Disease Control gathered data on 784,507 reported abortions in 2009. Reporting an abortion to the CDC is voluntary and not required by law, so there is no true number of the lives lost. But 700,000 is a huge number. Not only is it the most preventable cause of death in our county, it is the largest cause of death overall.

The CDC lists the following 10 as the leading causes of death:

  • Heart disease: 599,413
  • Cancer: 567,628
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 79,003
  • Diabetes: 68,705
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909

Notice that murder, guns or “assault rifle” are not on the list? The FBI reports that there were 12,664 murders in 2011. Of those, the majority were killed with a firearm. 8,583 lives were lost to guns. Of those, 323 were rifles. If you browse through the list below, you will see that 5 times more people were killed with knives than with rifles. And the “rifle” in this statistic is not just the semi-automatic type, but the combination of all rifle types, semi, bolt, lever, pump and single shot actions. Rifles accounted for 2.55% of all murders in 2011.

Murders with firearms: 8,583

Murders with handguns: 6,220

Murders with knives: 1,694

Murders with personal weapons (hands, fits & feet): 728

Murders with blunt objects like clubs & hammers: 496

Murders with shotguns: 356

Murders with rifles: 323

If the gun control advocates are concerned with saving innocent lives, they could focus on alcohol instead of guns. The CDC reports that 24,518 Americans died as a result of consuming too much alcohol. Another 15,183 died from chronic use. Alcohol kills 4.6 times more people than are murdered with guns. Your chances of drinking yourself to death are far greater than getting killed with a gun. Again, is it really about saving lives? They are using a tragedy for political advantage. What will truly be gained from banning guns. Murder is illegal and that doesn’t seem to stop it from happening.

I’ve poured over the CDC data and listed some of other causes of death in America (in random order). All of these are tragic deaths involved family and loved ones, yet the media didn’t cover any of them (unless it a famous singer who overdosed on drugs or drown in a bathtub, the media always covers those deaths) because they didn’t involve firearms. All of these deaths exceeded the number of deaths involving guns, but there has been no outcry from the President, other politicians or the media to address these tragedies.

Intestinal Infections: 10,251

Septicemia (Blood Infection): 35,639

Pneumonia: 15,948

Chronic Liver Disease: 30,558

Falls: 24,792

Accidental Poisoning / Noxious Substances: 31,758

The CDC recorded in 2009, a total of 2,437,163 resident deaths in the United States. A great deal of these deaths are preventable. Gun violence is responsible for just 0.35% of all deaths in our country. So-called “assault rifles” are responsible for less than 0.13% of deaths in America. Gun Control is not about “saving lives”, it is about wielding political power. The numbers speak for themselves.

Link to CDC and FBI data. &

3 Comments leave one →
  1. lwk2431 permalink
    February 12, 2013 6:25 am

    Murders with firearms: 8,583

    Murders with handguns: 6,220
    Murders with shotguns: 356
    Murders with rifles: 323

    I would have expected “Murders with firearms” to be equal to adding up murders with handgun, shotguns, and rifles? But I get 6,899 when I add them? Not disuputing your overall point, just noticing.


    Who Needs An Assault Rifle?

    • February 12, 2013 8:49 am

      You are correct that the numbers do not add up. The FBI data list the remaining guns as ” type not listed”. There is no way to know for sure what they are. I would suspect the majority of them would be handguns, but I chose to just list the numbers as they were in the report.

  2. April 24, 2013 12:44 am

    Great. I agree.

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