What’s the Biggest Danger: “Assault Weapons” or Feet and Hands?

posted on October 5, 2021
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Given President Joe Biden’s insistence that so-called “assault weapons” (the term anti-gun extremists created to refer to the semi-automatic firearms owned and used legally by millions of Americans) must be banned for reasons of public safety, one would think these rifles were being used in a staggering number of murders.

In fact, a person is more likely to be killed by someone else’s hands and feet than by any type of rifle—Biden’s “assault weapons” included!

Yes, feet and hands, which helped kill more people in 2020 than rifles, according to the 2020 “Uniform Crime Report” (UCR) that was compiled and recently released by the FBI.

The UCR’s “Expanded Homicide Data, Table 8, Murder Victims by Weapon, 2016 – 2020” makes for some interesting reading for those who are concerned about our safety. It shows that in 2020, rifles of all types were reported to have been used in 454 murders. “Personal weapons,” which the FBI defines as hands, fists, feet, and even pushing someone, accounted for 657 murders.

Meanwhile, “knives or cutting instruments” were used in 1,732 murders, making knives and similar items more than three times more frequently employed than rifles in murders, and two times more frequently reported to have been used than shotguns (at 203 murders) and rifles combined.

If anything, one would think Biden might define these sharp-edged objects as “assault knives” or “assault cutting instruments,” declare a public-safety emergency, and propose legislation to ban these items.

The above patterns are very consistent going back to 2016, too. In 2016, there were 300 murders reported to have been committed with rifles, 247 with shotguns, and 1,562 murders where the weapons of choice were knives and cutting instruments. That same year, personal weapons—yes, those pesky hands and feet and pushing—totaled some 670 murders, while rifles and shotguns combined were reported under 550.

Actually, in 2016, blunt objects, defined by the FBI as “clubs, hammer, etc.,” took a larger toll, at 466 murders, than reported rifle use alone.

Obviously, any murder by any means is a very bad thing. And murders in 2020, according to the UCR, were up noticeably in 2020 compared to previous years (17,754 murders last year, for example, versus 14,391 in 2019).

Yet, the rhetoric coming from the Biden White House, as we noted, is that “gun violence has become an epidemic in America.” Even the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, has claimed that the CDC needs to go after the Second Amendment to “cure” this “epidemic.”

As for a more honest look at the rise in 2020 violent crime, we previously reported, “Besides the fallacy of using the term ‘epidemic’ to describe violent crime when discussing the criminal misuse of firearms, the talk is nonsense when you look at criminal violence over the past few decades. Until 2020, America had seen a long, overall decline in violent crime. [2020] saw a rise—in some cities even a surge. That, however, had nothing to do with gun ownership and rising gun sales, and everything to do with riots, movements to defund the police, and factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

And a general increase in violent crimes actually makes the case for the Second Amendment and preserving our inherent right to self-defense.

One would hope the Biden White House would be more focused on actual causes of violent crime and take worthwhile actions to address those causes. Unfortunately, such a practical approach doesn’t fit into this administration’s game plan, where the Second Amendment is the bogeyman and banning our commonly used firearms is held up as a solution.


Sen. Chuck Schumer caricature
Sen. Chuck Schumer caricature

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