You Want To Have A Serious Talk About Gun Violence? Let’s Talk About Chicago And Handguns

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Geoffrey Ingersoll Editor in Chief
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It seems fairly evident that nobody on the gun control side of the aisle wants to have a serious talk about guns and gun violence. What they want is an easy win. They want to cast the National Rifle Association as the epitome of evil. An army of children is marching on Washington this weekend, and they want to take semi-automatic rifles away, specifically, the spooky AR-15 rifle.

Indeed, the weapon and its notional ban have objectively dominated debate on the national stage since the Parkland shooting.

Meanwhile, if gun control advocates were actually serious about gun violence, they’d be talking about places like Chicago and they’d lobby for further regulation of or outright ban on the sale of handguns. Yes, the real numbers actually show rifles are among the safest firearms for an American to own. According to the FBI, Americans are roughly 20 times more likely to die at the end of a handgun.

Yet, handguns are definitively not part of the script the media follows when a mass shooting occurs in America. First, blue check marks start tweeting for gun control while the bodies are still warm. Second come the spin masters like Bloomberg’s anti-gun Everytown USA, which got basically the entire media to repeat a wildly false statistic that 18 school shootings had occurred in 2018. Third come the “thoughtful” and “powerful” opeds, lately from veterans quick to use their service as a lecturing device.

Finally, the big brands come out to play.

We get scary posts on the AR-15 like this one from a two-time Pulitzer recipient at The New York Times, which notes that “173 people have been killed in mass shootings in the United States involving AR-15s, according to a New York Times analysis.” Of course, the article — which reads like a less dishonest version of a press release from Everytown — is missing the context on handguns. How else would they have fit in the swipe at the NRA, the quote from a military veteran for gun control, and all the terrifying language about the infantry’s use of AR-15s?

If we’re to restrict gun deaths to just mass shootings, according to Statista (which uses the FBI’s methodology), handguns are about twice as likely to be used as rifles. We saw the results of handguns on soft targets in the Ft. Hood and Charleston church shootings. Except that it’s much easier to conceal a handgun, there is virtually no difference between a semi-automatic handgun and a rifle when it comes to attacking a close-quarters, defenseless environment like a school or a church.

The “173 deaths since 2007” number is also highly misleading out of context. Roughly four times that number died by gunfire in Chicago in a single year.

Still, not a word about Chicago gun violence from the media and gun control advocates in this recent cycle, while they loudly claim to be the white knights of gun violence.

Their proposed regulations also fit the typical script in that they will have almost no effect on the problem. Raise the age of sales to 21? Average age of a mass shooter is 32. Ban the sale of AR-15s? There are dozens of magazine-fed carbines on the market. Ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles? Most mass shootings occur with handguns.

No no, you’ll hear at their march on DC Saturday, their mascot is definitively the AR-15. Mostly because they just have to do something. But the numbers they carry with them are misleading or false. Their propositions, like banning the AR-15, won’t prevent a determined mass murderer.

But, they assure you, they’re totally serious about the problem.