Its not so much that I am calling for a ban on knives or anything. I am just frustrated by the overwhelming effort focused on long rifles. They are hardly ever used. FBI data for the last decade or so has 300 people killed per year by long rifles of all types. AR-15s, semi-automatics, bolt-action, lever-action, etc…
The end result of banning a selection of long rifles won’t result in any appreciable reduction in gun violence. Its a sugar pill.
Its a sugar pill that can relatively easily get support from folks because
There don’t appear to be any legitimate reasons to have a military assault rifle in modern daily life.
Of course we should ban it because it is a scary military assault rifle and that just doesn’t jive with my gut.
Lets take a look at mass shootings.
Up until recently one of the most deadly mass shootings in America was committed with a Glock 19 and a Walther of some model (both pistols). 33 dead at Virginia Tech with pistols.
The Orlando shooter used an AR-15 alike. Now the most popular pistol (possibly gun as a whole) in America is the Glock (a pistol). Which comes with a standard 20 round magazine. Fully loaded it holds 21 rounds of ammunition. They also sell 30 round extended magazines although I’m unsure of there reliability. (Sidenote: Larger magazines are more prone to jamming, which is why you don’t see folks seriously use giant 100 round drum mags for guns.)
Would the outcome be significantly different if the shooter had walked into a packed room and started firing with a pistol? I don’t think so. In fact the only shooting in recent memory that uses the advantages of an AR-15 would be the Dallas shooting.
When someone is going room to room shooting people a pistol is gonna work just as well as a rifle. And then again someone could just drive a semi into a crowd.
Now outside of mass shootings you have violent crime. 6,000+ people per year killed by pistols. This is your everyday violent crime. They’ll use a pistol. They are cheap, and easy to conceal. Violent crimes aren’t being committed by a guy running around with an AR-15 because they are long rifles and they are expensive.
6,000 people is a massive number. That is Orlando 123 times. That is Orlando every single day for four months. (The FBI gun statistics have a further 2-3 thousand shootings with an unknown gun but I would bet most of those are pistols so we could probably increase those numbers)
But what do we hear… “Ban the AR-15” Ban it because of a couple of edge cases. Ban it because I want to ignore all the statistics, my gut says “black rifles are bad”.
And I wouldn;t be so strident about this if it occurred in a vacuum, but it doesn’t. There is a limited amount of political power that can be leveraged here. So we’re gonna burn it all to do nothing but ban a small selection of semi-automatic rifles and do nothing effectual. Then everyone will celebrate and that day hundreds of people in communities across America will be shot and killed with pistols. A month or so later someone will walk into a crowded room with a couple of Glocks and open fire. Yep, time to pat ourselves on the back.
My first post is currently in moderation limbo so this would probably be and edit. Sorry for the double post.
I wouldn’t describe most gun violence as inter-family violence, but community violence. Its crimes that result in one or two dead within your local community. People aren’t necessarily related but the families probably live in the same areas.
Mass shootings are hard to prevent and an easy solution for the perpetrator is always just to buy more guns. For the relative cost of a single AR platform weapon you could get two Glocks. That is 42 rounds ready to roll right there. Throw in another $500 and you’ve got yourself to 64 rounds. Or you could just use something else. Fire, vehicle, homemade bomb etc… Even with a reduction in magazine size you would still be stacked with 33 rounds in 3 guns.
So my general view is to take a step back and look at the broad picture. How can we prevent everyday gun violence. Background checks, waiting periods, allowing family to report family members who are behaving erratically, tariffs on pistols (cheap guns are easy to buy easy to ditch), better economic support, better mental health support, ending the war on drugs, better police interactions with the community etc…
Mass killings are shocking, and they get a lot of focus, but at the end of the day they aren’t the core of gun violence. The core of gun violence is a slow trickle of deaths everyday. No one really notices because they aren’t shocking and they don’t reach out to the middle class.