How will the other side justify banning so-called ‘assault weapons’ now?

I thought I remembered reading once that more people were murdered with fists and feet than with all long guns put together–let alone the much smaller subset of so-called “assault weapons”. I decided to look into that, and checked the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Looking at the figures from 2002 to 2006, the numbers don’t quite bear out the idea that more people are murdered without weapons than with long guns, but it’s pretty close.

In that five-year span, there were 4614 murders committed with rifles and shotguns. Over the same time period, there were 4597 murders committed with “personal weapons” (hands, fists, feet, etc.) There’s a caveat–there were 6095 murders committed with “Firearms, type not specified.” Still, if the ratio of murders known to have been committed with handguns (37685) to those known to have been committed with long guns (4614) holds true in the “Firearms, type not specified” category–a fair assumption, I would think–that would only add 665 murders committed with long guns. That would give us a total of 5279. There were also 513 murders committed with “other guns,” whatever that means. Let’s be (extremely) generous, and say all 513 were committed with long guns–that’s 5792 (and remember that a great many long guns have never been designated as “assault weapons”).

Now, if one were to add strangulation (603) and asphyxiation (543) to the “fists and feet” category, one gets 5743. Add in blunt objects, like hammers, clubs, etc. (3213), we’re up to 8956 non-firearm murders. Add in knives and other cutting/stabbing implements (9212), we’re up to 18168 murders committed with body parts and various objects that no one outside the UK would seriously consider regulating–more than triple all the long gun murders put together.

Another caveat: not all “assault weapons” are long guns–there are a few “pistols” based on the AR-15 platform or psuedo-AK’s, etc. (I plan to get not just an AR pistol within the next few months, but a dreaded .50 caliber AR “assault pistol”–saints preserve us all!). Still, despite efforts by the other side to drum up “assault pistol” hysteria, they are not particularly common, and not even particularly suited to the desires of criminals.

Justice Scalia has managed to interpret shall not be infringed in such a way that it doesn’t conflict with bans of “dangerous and unusual” weapons. With the AR platform now apparently the biggest selling centerfire rifle in the country, it can hardly be said to be unusual, and statistically speaking, is clearly not one of the more dangerous weapons available.

Is a federal ban of “assault weapons” off the table now (and I’m not even talking yet about the very distinct possibility of incorporation against the states)?

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3 Responses to “How will the other side justify banning so-called ‘assault weapons’ now?”

  1. 10ksnooker Says:

    There is a quote in my post http://10ksnookers.blogspot.com/2008/06/not-one-vote.html from the decision that if read carefully says AW are off the table, if they are common militia arms. So for sure you can fit M-16 variants into that category. Scalia’s making the point that you cannot disconnect the militai from the right.

    Another point is that not one vote went to the collectivist interpretation.

  2. the pistolero Says:

    Yep, that’s what I was thinking as well, 10k.

  3. Don Gwinn Says:

    I predict an eventual debate over that language anyway. How do you square a test (if it does become the test) of “unusalness” with suits over ownership of weapons that used to be “usual” and commonplace but were made uncommon and unusual by government fiat over 70 years ago? I speak, of course, of the Swamp Dragon.
    No, seriously, someone will challenge that reasoning at some point. There are just much bigger fish to fry at the moment.

    But if the GCA 1934 is constitutional because it only prohibits (or onerously regulates) weapons that are “unusual,” why are they unusual?

    Because they were prohibited by GCA 1934. But why is it constitutional for GCA 1934 to prohibit them?

    Because they’re unusual. But why . . .

    I could go on like this all day, but you see the circle, yes?

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