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FBI statistics show more people die by blunt objects than rifles

A rack of various modern sporting rifles, mostly AR-15s, in Gallenson's Gun Shop, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. (Michael McConville/Wikimedia Commons)
August 22, 2019

More people were killed by a blunt object — such as a hammer or a club — than a rifle of any kind in 2017, according to an FBI crime report.

The latest FBI statistics from 2017 show that 467 people were killed by a blunt object, while 403 people were killed by some type of rifle.

People were killed more with “personal weapons,” such as hands, fists or feet, than either a blunt object or a rifle in 2017, according to the statistics.

Although the total number of people killed by a rifle or a gun of any type totaled 10,982, rifles remain a contentious point in politics. The public perception is that rifles kill more individuals than any other type of gun. However, individuals are much more likely to be killed by a handgun than a rifle or shotgun, with 7,032 deaths in 2017.

Democrats running for president in 2020 have made gun-control a central part of their campaign. Some candidates have ramped up their gun-control rhetoric in the wake of two mass shootings last week that left 31 dead.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, said in an interview with CNN on Aug. 5 that he would reinstate previous legislation that banned certain types of rifles from 1994 to 2004, when the legislation expired.

“I was able to get one passed,” said Biden, citing the 1994 assault weapons ban, as Raw Story reported. “Does anybody think it made any sense that someone is able to walk into a gun store, buy an assault weapon that has multiple rounds or buy an assault weapon that has 100 rounds … do you want more of them on the street? Do we want to do that?”

When asked if his proposal meant that a future Biden administration would take away individual’s guns, Biden responded, “Bingo, you’re right if you have an assault weapon.”

“The fact of the matter is they should be illegal, period,” he added. “Look, the Second Amendment doesn’t say you can’t restrict the kinds of weapons people can own. You can’t buy a bazooka. You can’t have a flamethrower. The guys who make these arguments are the people who say, ‘the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots, we need protection against the government.’ We need an F-15 for that. You need something well beyond whether or not you have an assault weapon.”

Even Kentucky Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said legislation banning “assault weapons” will be “front and center” when the Senate reconvenes, NPR reported earlier this month.

“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” McConnell said on the Louisville, Kentucky, Terry Meiners Show. “The urgency of this is not lost on any of us.”

“We had that ban for about a 10-year period. There’s a good deal of dispute about whether it actually had an impact or not,” McConnell added. “It’s certainly one of the front and center issues.”