L.A. Liberty

A Libertarian in Leftywood

This political cartoon is currently circulating the internet (which of course means it’s on heavy rotation on tumblr):

image

Tumblr bloggers soulgrandma and antigovernmentextremist have already offered some thoughtful responses (which triggered - so to speak - this post).

I just wish to make a small point directly responding to the above graphic.

It alleges that the AR-style rifle pictured has no alternate use other than murder. To the contrary, I think the AR-style rifle is actually one of the most versatile firearms one can own: it can capably be used for home defense (including fending off more than one attacker), it can be used for hunting (the upper receiver can be quickly and easily swapped out to allow for a longer barrel and scope, if necessary for ranges past 300 yards), and it is one of the most popular firearms (if not the most popular) used in sport shooting. Most can handle different calibers, and - since it can be fairly light - can be handled by people of different sizes, abilities, and strengths.

But this graphic claims the AR-style rifle (which is, fundamentally, mostly only superficially different to an average hunting rifle) to be merely a murder machine. And that is, indeed, the popular narrative pushed by leftists and other ignorant and naïve statists as is evidenced by the forthcoming legislation attempting to ban these so-called “assault weapons.”

However, there is simply no truth to this claim. Firstly, as has been mentioned repeatedly, rifles are seldom used to commit murder. In 2011, there were 323 murders committed using rifles of any type. Relative to the 12,664 murders committed that same year in the United States, murders by rifles accounted for approximately 2.6% of all murders. And this is all rifles. Dianne Feinstein puts murders by so-called “assault weapons” at 48 per year, which means that so-called “assault weapons” are used in approximately 0.3% of all murders.

Furthermore, it is estimated that there are over 3 million so-called “assault rifles” in the United States. Therefore, even if every one of those 48 murders were committed using a separate so-called “assault weapon,” that means that less than 0.0015% of all so-called “assault weapons” were used to commit murder. That’s one out of every 67,000. For comparison, there are approximately 300 million vehicles in the United States and an average of 32,500 vehicular deaths per year - even if we assume one vehicle to be responsible, on average, for two of these deaths, that still would roughly translate to approximately one out of every 18,000 vehicles. Vehicles are far more often used to kill people than so-called “assault weapons” - not just in total numbers but as a fraction of the vehicles on the road. And yet, manslaughter would of course not be considered a vehicle’s primary use.

So however you quantify it - 0.3% of all murders or 0.0015% of all such rifles used - it is decidedly clear that the AR-style rifle has many other uses - and the overwhelming majority of owners of so-called “assault rifles” do so peacefully and responsibly. Murder is not only not such rifle’s primary use, but it is a grossly uncommon alternate use. If one out of every 67,000 pencils were used to poke an eye out, would it be correct to allege that pencils were merely eye-poking weapons with no alternate use? Hardly. And yet this is precisely the shenanigans being employed.

_

*edit: adjusted - for clarity and accuracy - total murders to the 2011 figure instead of a multi-year average. 

Notes:

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  13. catb320 reblogged this from the-great-dragon-of-the-west and added:
    Yeah, if criminals followed the law.
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  16. the-great-dragon-of-the-west reblogged this from catb320 and added:
    So if Ar-15s have “alternate” uses and account for such a small percentage of murders weapons, clearly the correct...
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