Analysis

The Data Proves It: When It Comes To Gun Violence, ‘Assault Weapons’ Aren’t The Problem

   DailyWire.com
TINLEY PARK, IL - DECEMBER 17: A customer shops for a pistol at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store on December 17, 2012 in Tinley Park, Illinois. Americans purchased a record number of guns in 2012 and gun makers have reported a record high in demand. Firearm sales have surged recently as speculation of stricter gun laws and a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban following the mass school shooting in Connecticut.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

As The Daily Wire reported earlier this week, “Ten people were killed in a tragedy that unfolded in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado on Monday afternoon after a man walked into a King Soopers store and opened fire.”

Almost immediately, multiple Democrats used the latest attack as an opportunity to advocate for stricter forms of gun control, especially after the shooter in Boulder was reported to have used an “AR-15 style” rifle.

Joe Biden said, “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.” Sen. Mazie Hirono called for Congress to pass H.R. 8, tweeting “Another week, another unspeakable tragedy — this time 10 lives lost in Boulder. While we mourn those lost, we can’t become numb to the ever growing toll of gun violence in our country.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren used the tragedy as her latest excuse to achieve an unrelated ideological victory and end the filibuster, tweeting “Week after week, month after month, year after year – the gun violence doesn’t end. And things won’t get better until Democrats get rid of the filibuster and finally pass gun safety legislation that a huge majority of Americans support.”

The shocking events which took place in Atlanta and Boulder are both despicable acts of evil, regardless of motive or perpetrator. However, when we move from the initial emotional reaction to the promotion of legislation, it becomes necessary to first understand the problem of “gun violence ” in its full statistical context.

After all, how can we hope to “solve” a problem if we don’t understand the problem?

Here are some key data points regarding gun violence in the United States which are often ignored or dismissed by Democrats who hope to cherry-pick data for political purposes.

Causes of injury-related deaths

Based on CDC data, 70.3% (173,040) of injury deaths were unintentional, 19.3% (47,511) were due to suicide, 7.8% (19,141) were homicides, 2.3% (5,683) were of undetermined intent, and 0.3% (652) were due to “legal intervention.” 

Looking at homicides, 75.3% (14,414) were committed with a firearm. Other causes include 8.9% (1,702) caused by cutting or piercing, and 2.4% (455) caused by suffocation.

Firearm deaths by gender and age

Males are vastly more likely to be murdered with a firearm than females, with a death rate per 100,000 of 7.65 for males and 1.44 for females across all age ranges. This disproportionality becomes even greater when we adjust for age. In the 15-19 age range, males have a death rate per 100,000 of 14.31 while females have a death rate per 100,000 of 2.10. The death rate for males per 100,000 spikes in the 20-24 age range at 20.53 compared to 2.96 for females. Between the ages of 25-29, the rate is 18.51 for males and 2.50 for females. Between the ages of 30-34, the rate is 15.21 for males and 2.36 for females.

The vast majority of deaths from firearms for males occur between the ages of 15 and 34, with a total of 7,759 deaths. That’s over 53% of all firearm deaths across the entire population.

Firearm deaths by race

Black people are far more likely to be killed with a firearm than people of any other race. Across the entire population, black people have a death rate per 100,000 of 17.83 when it comes to firearm deaths. White people have a rate of 2.22, Native Americans have a rate of 4.07, and Asians have a rate of 1.08.

In terms of raw count, 8,607 black people were killed with firearms in 2019, which accounts for almost 60% of all firearm deaths that year. 5,367 white people were killed, which made up over 37% of firearm deaths.

The disproportional impact of gun violence on the black community becomes even more apparent when we group by sex. 7,685 black males were killed with firearms in 2019, which is over 53% of all firearm deaths. In other words, black males make up the majority of victims of gun violence.

Deaths by weapon used

According to Statista, 6,368 murders were committed in 2019 using handguns, amounting to approximately 44% of all firearm deaths. 3,281 deaths were caused by firearms of an unknown type (over 22%). Rifles were used in 364 murders in 2019, which amounts to 2.5% of all firearm deaths. Shotguns were used in 200 murders, amounting to under 2% of firearm deaths.

To add further perspective, while 364 murders were committed with a rifle, 397 murders were committed with blunt objects, 600 with personal weapons such as fists or feet, and 1,476 with knives or cutting instruments.

Possession of firearm during offense which resulted in conviction

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the disproportional nature of gun possession during criminal offenses follows the earlier patterns based on age, sex, and race.

21.8% of male prisoners in state institutions, and 20.9% of male prisoners in federal institutions, possessed a firearm during their offense, compared to just 9.5% in state institutions and 6.6% in federal institutions for female offenders.

Regarding these firearms, 10.1% were purchased or traded at a retail source (such as a gun store or pawn shop). Just 0.8% were purchased at a gun show. 25.3% were obtained from an individual. 43.2% were obtained from street or underground markets, and 6.4% were obtained through theft. 6.9% were found at the location of the crime.

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Mass shootings are undeniably horrendous acts of unimaginable evil, and it is certainly valid for elected officials to pursue legislative — and constitutional — policies which aim to prevent their occurrence. However, given the clear statistical breakdown of gun violence in the United States, one simply must ask why the focus of our legislative officials remains squarely on one form of violence, while ignoring the vast majority of other forms which are impacting thousands of Americans — most of them black — every single day.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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