In the media and Administration’s push to use the recent school shooting to advance their political agenda, they are careful to couch their words in vague emotionalism and obscure terms that avoid any facts or rational discussion. The rifles that they are most keen on banning are exactly those firearms that are least used in murders, but the most protected by the Constitution.

Modern sport utility rifles, which are included in the vague term “assault weapons", are used so seldom for murder that many states do not see a single case in a year.

In 2010, there were 12,996 murders. Firearms were used in 8,775. Of those, rifles were used in 358, and modern sport utility rifles, often called “assault rifles” are a fraction of those. These rifles are seldom used in crime because standard handguns, at close range, offer comparable firepower and are more easily concealed.

Hands and feet were used to kill 742. Clubs were used to kill 540. Knives were used to kill 1,704.

While the type of firearm was not listed for 2,035 homicides, it is unlikely that there were very many sport utility rifles in that group. Sport utitily rifles are easily identified, and so rarely used in murder as to make headlines when they are.

This does not make them rare. They are the most popular type of rifle sold in the last 5 years. Most rifles sold in the United States are semi-automatic. The difficulty of defining "assault weapon" (which primarily depends on cosmetic features) makes it hard to say how many are owned in the United States, but it is likely somewhere between 10 and 30 million.

Why does the Media and the Administration want to take away those firearms most appropriate for use in militias, and thus most protected by the Constitution? The answer lies in part with a strategy of deception first put forward by Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center in 1988 “The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the publics confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”

Many who wish to disarm the citizens also believe that the government should have a monopoly on deadly force. This is directly in contradiction with the founding documents and philosophy of the United States, which was primarily concerned with creating a government that was limited, in part, by an armed citizenry. If you believe that citizens should never oppose a government by force, then you want those citizens disarmed.

When the “Assault weapon ban” of 1994 went into effect, it had no discernible effect on the murder rate. When it sunset in 2004, there was no discernible effect on the murder rate. This was because these firearms are rarely used in crimes. They are however, very popular with police and armed citizens, because they make it much easier for an armed citizen to defend against multiple attackers. One of the primary purposes of guns is to deter attack. Sport Utility rifles are a powerful deterent to those who wish to harm the innocent.

Dean Weingarten