Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student and shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv claimed “hammers and fists” are used to kill more people than AR-15s in the U.S., and he’s right.
The FBI reported that more people are killed each year using blunt objects or “personal weapons” (fists, hands or feet) than are killed using rifles, which are used in only a small fraction of gun homicides. AR-15 rifles have been used in a spate of mass shootings in recent years, including the February school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead. As a result, the gun has become a focus for gun control advocates, many of whom argue that they should be more tightly regulated or outright banned.
Kashuv has pushed back on these and other arguments advanced by his activist Parkland peers by repeating a claim often made by conservative commentators that knives, bats and even fists are used to kill more people than rifles. (RELATED: Media Spreads Lie About NRA Conference)
Data about the number of people intentionally killed each year specifically using hammers, fists or AR-15s is not available, but Kashuv’s tweet cites the FBI, which publishes annual statistics about homicides committed using slightly broader categories of weapons.
While 374 people were killed using rifles such as the AR-15 in 2016, 656 were killed using what the FBI calls “personal weapons” like fists, hands and feet. This includes physical altercations and incidents of pushing. Another 472 people were killed that year using a blunt object. The FBI lists hammers and clubs as examples. (RELATED: Hero Illinois Cop Showed How It’s Done)
But rifles are used in only a small fraction of murders committed using firearms. FBI data shows that about 11,000 people were killed using guns in 2016, the majority of whom — more than 7,100 people — were killed using handguns. The vast majority of nonfatal crimes involving guns are also committed using handguns.
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