Mr. Williams obviously wrote this article hoping that no one would check his assertions and the editors of the Medium daily digest decided the article sounded so good that they didn’t check them, either.
Unfortunately, they sent the digest to me and I do actually check things and I have some pretty good sources.
The FBI reported 27 Active Shooter incidents (ACI) in 2018. A total of 85 people were killed, including two law enforcement officers and an unarmed security guard. An additional 128 people were wounded, including six law enforcement officers.
Compared to 2017, that’s a 10% reduction in the number of ACIs; it’s a 62% decrease in the number of people killed; and the number of people injured plunged 82%. The total number of casualties dropped 77%.
The state with the highest number of ACIs was California, with four. Florida had three. Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Texas each had two. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin each had one. So states with strict gun laws had an average of 2.67 ACIs per state and 13 states without strict gun laws had an average of 1.46 ACIs per state.
Kind of wrecks Mr. Williams’ thesis, doesn’t it?
But lets not stop there; how about “mass shootings?”
When it comes to the mass shootings reported by the Gun Violence Archive, California and Illinois tied for the top spot in 2018. California has a significant lead so far in 2019. Mass shootings are up 93% in California to 27; they have soared 200% in Maryland to 9; and risen 80% in New Jersey with nine so far this year.
California also has the lead in the number of people killed and wounded.
Funny thing is, all three of those states have enacted additional gun laws since 2016.
But Mr. Williams specifically mentioned, Texas, Florida, and Ohio, those evil states that he claims relaxed gun laws. Note that Texas hasn’t made significant changes to its gun laws for several years; Florida raised the age to purchase a long gun from 18 to 21 and extended the mandatory waiting period; and Ohio didn’t make any substantive changes to its gun laws until the most recent legislative session.
But let’s look at them. From 2018 to 2019, the number of mass shootings in Texas increased by 71% to twelve. Mass shootings fell 50% in Florida with nine in the first six months; in Ohio, there were six, a 100% jump.
Now let’s look at those “evil black rifles.”
A spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, firearm industry’s trade group (and you thought it was the NRA), estimated that American citizens own about 16 million “assault rifles” of which about half are AR-15s or variants of the Stoner design. So that’s about eight million AR-15-style rifles.
Since the original AR-15 went on sale in early 1964, about 60 have been used in what would be called active shooter incidents. This includes the 22 that Stephen Paddock had in his Las Vegas hotel room.
That works out to about 0.0008% of these rifles that have been used by active shooters.
In 2018, AR-15-style rifles were used in four of the 27 ACIs. The overwhelming majority of ACIs in 2018, just like the majority of them in others years, involved handguns.
According to FBI reports, the average rate of rifle usage in homicides since the expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban is 21% lower than the average rate during the ten years the ban was in effect. That’s all types of rifles combined. More murders are committed by killers using their bare hands.
By the way, contrary to Mr. Williams’ assertion, President Bush said he would sign a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban if it came to his desk. Since nobody could present any evidence that it had shown any impact on crime in the ten years it had been in effect, a renewal died in Congress.
Of the 37 mass shootings reported by Mother Jones for the ten year period after the Assault Weapons Ban expired, seven involved the firearms banned by the AWB. During the AWB, six incidents involved firearms that were on the list, a significant increase over the number that were used in the ten years before the ban.
All in all, it doesn’t really seem like there is much more than hype to justify a new ban. It doesn’t seem to have done any good, so why bother?
The AR-15 has been turned into a boogeyman that people such as Mr. Williams have created to scare themselves. The reality certainly doesn’t measure up to the myth.
Two ACIs were ended by legally armed citizens in 2018 and three more were ended by unarmed citizens. The FBI commented on this in its conclusion to the 2018 report.
“As in past years, citizens were faced with split-second, life-or-death decisions. In 2018, citizens risked their lives to safely and successfully end the shootings in five of the 27 active shooter incidents. They saved many lives. Given this reality, it is vital that citizens be afforded training so they understand the risks they face and the options they have available when active shooter incidents are unfolding.”
Before anyone belittles the small number of armed citizens that ended active shooter events, some things need to be taken into consideration. Less than 7% of American adults have concealed-carry permits. The majority of permit holders do not always carry their guns. In addition, some of the ACIs occurred in places where even citizens with permits are not permitted to carry firearms, including public schools and government buildings. One-third of the ACIs in 2018 occurred in such places. Given those factors, armed citizens successfully intervened in 11% of the remaining incidents.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why nearly a third of U.S. states have dropped the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Nearly two-thirds of American states don’t require a permit to openly carry a handgun.
Based on the distribution of active shooter incidents and mass shootings, it appears that gun control laws are largely irrelevant when it comes to gun violence.
Too bad nobody feels like telling the truth to the American people.