Slog tipper Amy directs our attention to an article that's gaining traction among credulous gun nuts on the internet:
According to the FBI annual crime statistics, the number of murders committed annually with hammers and clubs far outnumbers the number of murders committed with a rifle.
This is an interesting fact, particularly amid the Democrats' feverish push to ban many different rifles, ostensibly to keep us safe of course.
However, it appears the zeal of Sens. like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) is misdirected. For in looking at the FBI numbers from 2005 to 2011, the number of murders by hammers and clubs consistently exceeds the number of murders committed with a rifle.
Think about it: In 2005, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 445, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 605. In 2006, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 438, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 618.
...in 2011, there was 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs.
Let's take a closer look at the data the article's author, Awr Hawkins, references here.
In 2011, the FBI chart notes that there were 323 instances of death-by-rifle, while 496 people were killed by blunt objects. Okay. Hawkin's assertion seems true enough if you're willing to overlook the sensationalist spin that all of the deaths caused by hammers and clubs, when blunt objects could include tire irons, golf clubs, bricks, flower pots... you know, anything that is both "blunt" and an "object." But of course, being a Breitbert writer, Hawkins blithely ignores the other 8,260 firearm-related homicides in 2011 attributed to shotguns, handguns, and other unidentified guns.
The gun-control measure Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has promised to introduce on the first day of session encompasses more than just assault rifles (and to be clear, no one's talking about banning hunting rifles or single action rifles, although Hawkins doesn't bother to make that distinction). Feinstein's bill would ban the "sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of more than 100 specifically-named firearms as well as certain semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds," among other things.
But Hawkins uses his cherry-picked data on rifles and hammers to drive home this laughable point:
... The bottom line: A rifle ban is as illogical as it is unconstitutional. We face far greater danger from individuals armed with carpenters' tools and a caveman's stick.
And it seems fairly obvious that if more people had a gun, less people would be inclined to try to hit them in the head with a hammer.
It seems fairly obvious to me that carpenter's tools build more houses than guns. It seems fairly obvious that someone armed with a hammer would have a hard time murdering 26 people in under 10 minutes. (Unless, of course, they were former Olympic sprinters. Perhaps Hawkins should update his article to villainize sprinters as well?)
It also seems fairly obvious that if you must rely on false equivalencies and incomplete data to argue that guns are essentially safe, you have no business entering a high school debate on gun control, let alone conversing with adults on the topic.