From the FBI’s newly released 2018 crime statistics:
|FBI Expanded Homicide Data Table 11|
|by Weapon, 2018|
|Total murder victims||NA||14,123|
|Total Specified Weapons||100.0%||10,093|
|Other guns or type not stated||NA||3,130|
|Knives or cutting instruments||15.0%||1,515|
|Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)||4.4%||443|
|Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.)||6.6%||668|
|Pushed or thrown out window||0.0%||4|
Leaving aside the 4,030 murder victims where the weapon or method is not specified well enough to be usable in this calculation, handguns accounted for 65.4% of murders, followed by knives at 15.0%, personal weapons (such as fists) at 6.6%, blunt instruments at 4.4%, rifles at 2.9%, and shotguns at 2.3%.
In the later 20th Century, most gun control advocates focused on the large amount of killing done with handguns, which remain by far the most lethal type of homicide weapon. Plus, handguns are the most commonly used weapons in armed robberies. In general, criminals vastly prefer easily concealed handguns to long guns, which call attention to those carrying them as they go about their business.
Today, however, handguns don’t get that much attention from gun control advocates, who tend to obsess over rifles, especially the AR-15.
And yet, rifles account for only 2.9% of murders in which the type of weapon was specified. Adding in shotguns, long guns only add up to 5.2% of murders. And long guns are seldom used to knock over liquor stores or to terrify a rape victim. They call too much attention to themselves.
Rifles are used in one kind of intentionally attention-grabbing type of homicide: one-way trip mass shootings in which the shooter doesn’t expect to ever come home, either dying in the course of his crime or going to prison for a very long time. These crimes are appalling, although the total number of murder victims from them are a small percentage of the annual national toll.
In contrast, attention paid to handguns seems to be in decline as it increasingly is coming to seem racist to want to disarm black criminals of their handguns.