Sunday, January 6, 2013

FBI: Hammers, Clubs Kill More People Than Rifles or Shotguns !

The latest annual FBI crime statistics show that more people are killed with clubs and hammers each year than by rifles or shotguns. In 2011, there were 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs. There were 356 murders in which a shotgun was the deadly weapon of choice.

The national debate on guns has grown more intense since December 14th when Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 chidren and 6 adults before committing suicide. There are 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the U.S.. In second place is Yemen, with 54.8, then Switzerland with 45.7 and Finland with 45.3. With gun violence in America ''off-the-chart'' compared with every other country on the planet the thinking is, in the words of New York Times columnist David Brooks, ''a problem of psychology, not sociology.''

Gun vendors told news outlets that the hottest items were such weapons as the AR-15 (see photo), a semi-automatic rifle that Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has proposed bnning as part of a package of gun regulations. The AR-15 rifle is the same weapon owned by Lanza's mother and used during the school shootings. The law currently proposed by Sen. Feinstein would strengthen the expired Bush 1994 Assault Weapons ban, outlaw certain rifles and handguns, and restrict ''high capacity'' magazines, in addition to compulsory gun registration (similar to Australia) under the National Firearms Act.

The number of FBI background checks required for Americans buying guns set a record in December with many guns ending up as Christmas presents. According to Reuters, the FBI recorded 2.78 million background checks during the month, surpassing the mark set in November of 2.01 million checks - about a 39% rise!  The FBI report concedes that some of the ''murder by rifle'' statistics should be increased slightly because some murders don't take non-categorized types of guns into account. However, data still shows that amount of people killed by hammers, clubs and other blunt instruments still continues to rise each year. Strangely, there seems to be no data on the number of knife murders occuring. Since Australia's gun ban the rise of stabbing murders has risen dramatically.

The Way I See It....even as gun purchases rise, the share of actual U.S. households with guns has been falling for decades, from 54% in 1977 to 32% in 2011 (according to the University of Chicago). The other argument against any serious gun control is that it's unconstitutional; an attempt to undo American history. In fact, something close to the opposite is true. Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in ''Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America''.

Guns were regulated in the U.S. from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed as early as 1813. Congress passed the first set of federal laws regulating, licensing and taxing guns in 1934. The act was challenged in the Supreme Court in 1939 where the it stated, ''The Second Amendment grants people a right that is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where arms are borne in the miltia provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.''

Things started to change in the 1970's as various right-wing groups coalesced to challenge gun control, overtuirning laws in state legislatures, Congress and the courts. But Chief Justice Warren Burger, appointed by Richard Nixon, described the new interpretation of the Second Amendment in an interview after his tenure as ''one of the greatest pieces of fraud -- I repeat the word FRAUD -- on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.''  So, when people throw up their hands and say nothing can be done about guns, tell them they're being Un-American -- and unintelligent.


  1. I don't get your point. Shotguns and rifles are both guns right? So if you added in handguns how would your comparison to hammers and clubs stack up?

    1. Thanks for your comment. That's exactly how the FBI reported it...guess you'd have to ask them. I wrinkled my brow too when I read it.