AR-15 Rifles and Mass Shootings

Everyone should agree to ban AR-15s. That was the conclusion of a recent article in the Atlantic magazine by a radiologist who was shocked by the bodily damage revealed in a CT scan of one of the victims of the mass murder at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The first tip-off that this was an emotion-driven, rather than fact-based argument was that this expert doctor admitted he had seen a grand total of two wounds with that “specific pattern of injury” in his entire medical experience.

The second tip-off that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about was his foolish – and wrong – claim: “AR-15 rifles is the common denominator in many mass shootings.”

The cold, hard facts from the FBI, sans emotive hand-wringing, are that rifles of any type are one of the least-used murder weapons in the U.S. The vast majority of U.S. murders are committed with handguns, not rifles.

As Sean Davis reports in the Federalist, the FBI says only 2.2 percent of murders in the U.S. over the last five years were committed with rifles. And the AR-15 amounted to only a fraction of the 2.2 percent.

In fact, shotguns accounted for 2.1 percent of murders. Shall we ban them too?

But wait. That’s not all. Knives were used in 11.9 percent of all murders. That’s five times more than all rifles.

In fact, more people are killed by hands, fists or feet (5.1 percent) than with all types of rifles, let alone AR-15s. No one will propose banning hands, fists and feet. It’s already illegal to use them that way.

If all rifles were outlawed, it might stop a tiny fraction of murders, or not, but it certainly wouldn’t keep lawbreakers from obtaining the banned rifles. That’s why we call them lawbreakers.

Why hasn’t it occurred to this doctor and the Left’s wannabe gun banners that they could save far more lives by outlawing knives? Because it would be ridiculous. Just like banning AR-15s.

Obviously, even banning all rifles would not “drastically reduce the incidence of mass murders,” as this ill-informed doctor contends. But hey, why worry about facts when emotions are in play?

As wiser, if less emotional, people note every time there’s a mass shooting, “Evil cannot be regulated away.”

Someone intent on murder, and on murder on a large scale, will not be deterred by laws or by bans. Notice the acid attacks and vehicular slaughter in Europe where guns are heavily restricted. And, oh yeah, they still use illegally obtained guns there too.

The admittedly pro-gun website, Extrano’s Alley, notes that the percentage of criminals who legally buy a gun and commit a crime with it is probably “a fraction of one percent of those who commit a gun-related crime.”

“[T]he overwhelming majority of professional criminals will use stolen ‘street guns’ that are cheap but very definitely illegal.”

Repeated studies indicate only 6 to 8 percent of all murders are committed with weapons legally purchased by the killer, bought from dealers after filling out extensive paperwork, providing identification and submitting to FBI background checks. Most of those murders are domestic violence, crimes of passion or committed by insane people.

Professional criminals, who account for the other 90 percent-plus, buy their guns on the street avoiding the legal niceties.

If you want to look for commonality in the reason these murderers murder, look at their upbringing, who they associate with, their family life or lack of it. Or as Ron Paul points out, “at least ten high profile mass shootings have been committed by individuals who ‘were either on — or just recently coming off of — psychiatric medications.’ The young killer in Florida was no different. According to his aunt, he had been on these medications to treat mental problems.”

Next you might want to check for what these murderers don’t have. Ask how many of them were professing Christians?

Finally, for those who think it’s America’s cowboy gun culture that’s the culprit, think again. Wait just a minute, you might protest, aren’t there are about 33,000 gun deaths a year in the U.S.?

But more than two-thirds of those are suicides and accidents, not murders. In 2011, of the 8,583 actual gun murders, a scant 323 were committed with all varieties of rifles, including bolt-action and hunting rifles.

That’s 323 in a nation of 326,000,000. Even then, only a fraction of the 323 were committed with what wannabe gun banners call “assault rifles.”

An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily reports: “…. a study of global mass-shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, headed by economist John Lott, shows the U.S. doesn’t lead the world in mass shootings.”

Got that? The U.S. doesn’t lead the world.

“In fact, it doesn’t even make the top 10, when measured by death rate per million population from mass public shootings,” the editorial notes.

Norway leads the world with a mass shooting death rate of 1.888 per million. No. 2 is Serbia, at 0.381, followed by France, Macedonia, Albania, Slovakia, Finland, Belgium and Czech Republic follow. All of them among the Left’s European darlings.

The U.S. comes in at No. 11, with a death rate of 0.089.

To top it off, there were also 27% more casualties from 2009 to 2015 per mass shooting incident in the European Union than in the U.S. Allow me to reiterate: The U.S. DOESN’T lead the world.

But in 2016 didn’t Barack Obama tearfully complain that “we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close.”

Are you surprised he was wrong? Do you think he was misinformed? Or do you suspect he intended to misinform you? Why would he do that? But why do some people insist “AR-15 rifles is the common denominator in many mass shootings”? In both cases the appeal was emotional – and the facts wrong.

Bottom line: government bans and restrictions on guns (see those European darlings) won’t change what’s wrong with the hearts and minds of vicious evil doers determined to commit murder. Until those hearts are changed, the best defense is to be armed. Virtually no mass murders with any type of weapon are committed in places where the targets are armed. Evil doers are not crazy. They don’t go hunting where they have reason to believe they will be killed in self-defense by their intended “victims.”

Arm school guards and teachers with guns, and teach them to use them. Then post this notice on the marquee and on every classroom door: “We are armed for self-defense.” It’s guaranteed to dissuade mass murderers who will go elsewhere to find a gun-free zone.

 Mark Landsbaum

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