Rifles Are America’s Favorite Scapegoat; They Shouldn’t Be

Youssef Zerbouaa, Contributing Writer

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Another mass shooting has occurred and the media and the left are advocating for gun control. But again, it is actually the politicization of a tragedy for personal gains.

The notion that we need more gun control to prevent gun violence is simply inaccurate, and the data suggests otherwise.

In the 20 years between 1993 and 2013, there was a 49% decrease in firearm-related homicides. That same 20-year span saw a 56% increase in the number of privately-owned firearms. Furthermore, according to a recent Northeastern study, mass shootings and school shootings have declined significantly since the 1990s.

Now, if one were to compare comprehensive news coverage from 1993 to 2018, one would be led to believe that the number of firearm-related homicides has not just increased astronomically, but that it has become the new normal for the United States. A 2013 Pew Research Center poll showed that 56% of people thought that gun violence had gone up in the last 20 years. I wonder why?

The majority of mass public shootings (98%) are committed in gun-free zones—which means that mass shooters are attracted to areas where the population is unarmed. In fact, the weapons of choice for most mass shootings aren’t rifles but rather handguns. Handguns are involved in 68% of mass shootings, while rifles are used in 12% of mass shootings, according to the Crime Research and Prevention Center.

In 2015, rifles accounted for 252 of the 9,616 homicides committed by guns in the United States, meaning that they accounted for 2.6% of gun related homicides. The idea that taking away guns that are responsible for such a tiny percentage of gun crime is going to reduce gun crime does not make common sense.

Not only that, but of the criminals who commit gun crimes, only 3-10% actually buy their guns legally. Knives, on the other hand, were responsible for 1,544 homicides in the United States in 2015. So, you are over six times more likely to die by knife than by rifle. Adding on to that, in 2015, 624 people were murdered by hands, fists, and feet, which just shows how rare it is for someone to get murdered with a rifle.

The chance of a public school student being shot in school on any given day since 1999 is roughly 1 in 614,000,000. Not to mention the fact that the deadliest school shooting (Virginia Tech) in United States history was committed by pistols and killed 32 people. Basing a movement on something that rarely happens by a weapon that is rarely used for homicide does not seem like the common sense the left now asks for when it comes to guns.

As Benjamin Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

This piece also appears in our March/April print edition.