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FBI stats show 5 times more murders by knives than rifles in 2018

Knives (MaxPixel/Released)
October 01, 2019

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released crime statistics for 2018, indicating knives were more than five times as likely to be used as murder than rifles were.

A fact sheet of the FBI’s 2018 crime statistics published Monday detailed some of the Bureau’s analysis of crime statistics, particularly studying the types of weapons used in murders. Rifles, as a particular category of firearm, were used to kill 297 people in 2018. By comparison, knives and other cutting instruments were the murder weapon for 1,515 murders in 2018.

The rifle category of firearms is a broad one comprised of bolt, pump, and lever-action firearms in addition to semi-automatic firearms like AR-15s, suggesting semi-automatic rifles comprise an even smaller number than the 297 total murders by rifle in 2018.

As a complete category in the FBI statistics, all firearms accounted for 10,265 of the 14,123 murders assessed for the year 2018.

Handguns were the primary firearm used in murders, having been used in 6,603 of the firearm-related murders, while shotguns were used in 235 murders, “other guns” were used in 167 and unspecified types of firearms accounted for the 2,963 remaining firearms-related murders.

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The ratio of knife-to-rifle related deaths also grew from the previous year’s statistic of more than four knife murders for every one murder with a rifle.

Blunt objects were also used more than rifles, accounting for 443 deaths. Murderers even used their hands and feet more often than rifles, accounting for 672 murder victims in 2018.

Drowning was used in nine murders, strangulation was used in 70 and asphyxiation was used in 90.

Poison was used in five murders, explosives in four, and fire was used in 72 murders.

Of the 14,123 total murders, 900 were committed with unspecified and other types of weapons.

The FBI’s statistics were gathered from 16,659 eligible federal, state, county, city, college and tribal law enforcement agencies. The Bureau found there were 1,206,836 overall violent crimes committed in 2018, indicating a 3.9 percent decrease in violent crimes from the previous year.

The AR-15 has been named by several politicians among the types of “assault weapons” the United States should consider banning.

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During a recent debate of Democratic Presidential candidates, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke pointed to recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and his hometown of El Paso, Texas as evidence that “assault weapons” are of particular danger to the public.

During the debate, O’Rourke even proposed a mandatory buyback on such weapons, saying “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

Critics have both questioned the feasibility of such a mandatory buyback and the reason semi-automatic rifles were of such primary concern over other types of weapons.