Assault Weapons Ban Not Correlated With Decrease In Homicides

This post contains excerpts from a post by statistician William M. Briggs. His full title is “Firearm Homicides Dropping. Assault Weapons Ban Not Correlated With Decrease In Homicides. No Need For New Restrictions.”

I found two of his graphs especially interesting regarding the homicide rate during the time that assault weapons were banned.

The first compares the relative number of homicides by hand guns and “other firearms” which presumably includes assault weapons. Notice that during the assault weapons ban, homicides by “other firearms” increased while homicides by handguns decreased:

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The next graph shows relative percent homicide by method. Briggs notes “The two rivals, equaling or exceeding in lethal importance to ‘assault’ weapons (and other non-handguns), are knives and other types of weapons, such as poisons, strangulations, and fire. Yet we never hear even rumors of politicians wishing to ban fire. Though we do hear, all too often, of impaired officials banning children for pointing their fingers.”

fbi.homicide.4

Briggs maintains that assault weapons bans are ineffective. He concludes with this statement:

None of the statistics presented here are new or unknown. They are available to every politician, and indeed every lawmaker with the word “ban” on his lips knows them well (otherwise they are incompetent). Each of these people, like you now, knows that limiting “assault” weapons will do little to change the homicide rate. Yet still they want to ban. Why?

Could it be—this is reasonable to ask—that they have a different agenda in mind? Did we not hear many elected officials (from both major parties) tell us that guns are “only for hunting”, and did not some call for the confiscation of all guns? I suspect that this is the sole reason for the current flurry, the drive to “never let a crisis go to waste”: to strip citizens of their guns. Not all at once, for that would lead to rebellion, but slowly, incrementally, a death through many small paper(work)cuts.

His full post on this matter: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7056

Wryheat comment: If Briggs’ statistics are right, a ban on assault weapons will accomplish little.

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6 comments

  1. Say what you want. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the “assault weapon” ban and other gun control attempts, and found “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence,” noting “that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.”So your source is not conclusive, but merely an opinion.
    There is no need for anyone but the military to possess a weapon that can kill a lot of people in a short time. My interest is in trying to reduce further violence, while I question what end you wish to achieve with your article in opposing an assault weapons ban. Lives are far more important.
    Here’s a quote for you from Karl Frederick, NRA President 1934. (Obviouslu when sanity and reason prevailed.

    I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it shoul be sharply restricted and only under license.”

    1. The point is that gun bans have not been proven effective. We need something else to reduce violence.

      1. I understood that. That’s why I replied with my counter-argument,…
        “…..insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.” So, in other words, I have found no studies that proved to be conslusive.

        And in the absence of a qualifying statement, your article itself would be a de facto agreement. with Briggs. Otherwise why would you write it?
        I know a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, etc., is not the only answer, but it’s part of it.

      2. A few known facts…

        * Roughly 16,272 murders were committed in the United States during 2008. Of these, about 10,886 or 67% were committed with firearms.[11]

        * A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone “almost certainly would have been killed” if they “had not used a gun for protection.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”[12]

        And more: http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

        * Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders.[13] [14] [15] Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.[16]

        * Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.[18]

        * A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5% of households had members who had used a gun “for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere.” Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all “military service, police work, or work as a security guard.”[19]

        * A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.[20]

        * A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:[21]

        • 34% had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”

        • 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun”

        • 69% personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”[22]

        * Click here to see why the following commonly cited statistic does not meet Just Facts’ Standards of Credibility: “In homes with guns, the homicide of a household member is almost 3 times more likely to occur than in homes without guns.”

        └ Vulnerability to Violent Crime

        * At the current homicide rate, roughly one in every 240 Americans will be murdered.[23]

        * A U.S. Justice Department study based on crime data from 1974-1985 found:

        • 42% of Americans will be the victim of a completed violent crime (assault, robbery, rape) in the course of their lives

        • 83% of Americans will be the victim of an attempted or completed violent crime

        • 52% of Americans will be the victim of an attempted or completed violent crime more than once[24]

        * A 1997 survey of more than 18,000 prison inmates found that among those serving time for a violent crime, “30% of State offenders and 35% of Federal offenders carried a firearm when committing the crime.”[25]

      3. You have a lot of figures and percentages here. But I haven’t figured out their correlation to whether the assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004 was effective or not.

      4. The very same so called “assault weapons” that were banned were immediately repackaged as sporter rifles. They were the very same guns only minus flash suppressors, bayonet lugs, and pistol grips. The banning of weapons on the basis of how they look(cosmetics) was simply met by gun sellers with identical weapons that had acceptable cosmetics. The ten year gun ban of so called “assault” weapons did less than zero to curb the rate of crime anywhere, but it did give the anti-gun crowd warm fuzzies for their knee-jerk reaction. Any weapon can be either an assault weapon or a defense weapon. It all depends on who is holding it and what their intended use is.

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