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MASS SHOOTING WEAPONS ARE NOT TYPICALLY "BLACK RIFLES", NOR ANY RIFLE

CT GOVERNMENT REPORT: "MILITARY STYLE" ARMALITE-DESIGN RIFLES PLAY A VERY SMALL ROLE IN RAMPAGE KILLINGS

The Connecticut Office of Legislative Research is tasked with doing research based on inquiry from elected officials in Hartford. Typically, the staffers are asked a question or to research a topic and the report back with their findings. They cover a wide range of issues, including firearms. 

One recent research report that caught my eye was OLR-R-0057, "Weapons Used in Mass Shootings" which you can find attached to this post. The opening of the OLR report states:

You asked for a list of the weapons that have been used in massshootings in the United States since the Columbine High School shootingin Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999.

We have identified at least 49 mass shootings in the United Statessince the Columbine shooting. These are incidents where two or morepeople were killed, not counting the perpetrator.

Table 1 lists each identified mass shooting incident and the weapons used.

The researchers found 49 mass murders from Columbine to Sandy Hook plus one. Of the 49, 4 involved a rifle of the Armalite Rifle design (AR) and 4 involved the Kalishnikov design (AK). Under the current Connecticut Assault weapon ban, the AK-47 and many of its variants are already banned by name.

So, excluding AKs, of all these deplorable rampage killings, just 8% can be attributed by the OLR to the type of black rifle that all the state's gun control advocates are seeking to ban. That is irrespective of the number of law-abiding Conencticut gun owners who currently own such rifles (tens of thousands) and the fact that there is not evidence of such rifles being used in a mass killing anywhere in CT since 1999 before Newtown. 

This is not surprising to anyone who has studied the statisitics on gun crimes and homicides. As a general category, all types of rifles are used in only 5% of all gun-related crimes and in less than 4% of all homicides (I have seen numbers as low as 3%). Given Armalite style rifles are a subset of all rifles, that means that ARs are used in less than 5% of gun crimes and less than 4% of gun homicides. 

And before anyone suggests how "destructive" these rifles are amd how they must be banned/confiscated before the next rampage killing, consider these three points:

1) The Armalite company first made the AR-15 available to civilians in its current semi-automatic form in 1965

2) The first record of an AR-style rifle being used in a mass shooting was in 2007 in Colorado (based on the attached OLR report and the extensive data at Mother Jones, no friend of gun rights).

3) Over the past decade, rifles using the Armalite design have been the most popular selling center-fire rifle in the civilian market. Estimates suggest there may be 8-10 million in civilian hands in the USA (not, the military does not use semi-automatic versions of this rifle). 

Are these three points telling us something? To my eye it is inarguable:

RIFLES BASED ON THE ARMALITE DESIGN HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS AND ARE INCREDIBLY POPULAR WITH MILLIONS IN CIRCULATION TODAY

YET

THIS TYPE RIFLE WAS FIRST USED IN A MASSACRE IN 2007 - 42 YEARS AFTER ITS FIRST CIVILIAN SALE

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY

SUCH RIFLES HAVE PLAYED A PART IN "ONLY" FOUR MASSACRES IN THE PAST 30+ YEARS. LESS THAN 3%!

I will draw no further conclusions here other than to point out that we as a society are spending an inordinate amount of time focused on rarely used black rifles and not enough time focused on what matters:

Why are these killings happening?

What are the causes?

How do we prevent boys running astray?

Why can we not face up to what our society has wrought?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jlo February 15, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Every time I see someone saying "this gun has no purpose but to kill people" I have to laugh because no one seems to have told criminals this. As you point out above, the AR has not been a major contributor to crime or to mass shootings. It also doesn't take an economist to figure out that it never will be, no criminal is ever going to spend $1,000+ for a rifle (probably $2,000+ on the black market) when they can get an illegal handgun for a few hundred. But alas, the truth is lost on most of the anti-gunners.
Charlie February 15, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Fascinating. I wonder how many ARs are in circulation in CT?
Jlo February 15, 2013 at 11:30 PM
TP- Regarding the 8-10mm figure, how accurate is that? I think that may be on the low side. When constructing their new ban NY estimated 1mm+ in circulation and I think it was the sheer number that ultimately dissuaded them from trying confiscation. There have been hundreds of thousands of AR's sold in the past couple months alone, most manufacturers are operating on 1-2 year backlogs. Also consider how many stripped lower receivers have been sold and are just waiting for the panic to ease so they can be transformed into operational rifles. I'm going to guess CT has a similar number to NY....I mean I can think of 4 or 5 people in Wilton who own AR's and this is just among my small group of close friends.
Jlo February 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM
No way is it that low. You can't find an AR in any gun store in CT, and when shipments come in they sell out in minutes. I'm going to guess that tens of thousands have sold in CT in the past two months alone.
Jlo February 16, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Pretty much. Last time I was in a gun store in CT I arrived right before they unlocked the doors in the morning and in the 15 minutes I was inside they sold 3 firearms (2 AR's and a handgun) so about $4,000 right there. They also fielded at least 15 phone calls mostly about AR's. The owner said he had $4 million dollars worth of AR orders in with his distributors. Since he is obviously not paying retail for them I'm going to guess thats at least 5,000 AR's and he will probably sell them for one and a half times that. So yeah its a good time to own a gun store, even better if you are lucky enough to still be getting stock in.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 01:53 AM
JIo, I personally use GunBroker.com. I know, I know, online sales! Yikes! But, given the simple fact that so many semi-automatic rifles are scarce right now, or with a 6-8 month waiting period, GunBroker.com serves me well. As long as a person has an FFL dealer nearby, they are good to go. Once the rush settles down, I will return to buying firearms in person.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 01:56 AM
JIo, Sorry, forgot to add- I am enjoying the 6.80 mm caliber as a good medium ground between the 5.56 and the 7.62. Good stopping power, decent range, and the ammo is not in heavy demand. http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=248
Thomas Paine February 16, 2013 at 01:59 AM
Charlie - I find AZ's simple "arithmetic" faulty because me makes a 1/2 of 1% assumption with no basis other than him being AZ and needing some number for him to be able to continue his snarky comments. Let's try some real analysis. The April 2011 OLR report 2011-R0158 (mags), using data from YE2010, said the following: "Based on Connecticut's percentage of National Instant Criminal Background Check System checks in the Unites States, NSSF estimated that the number of firearms owned by Connecticut residents is about three million. About one million of these firearms are handguns, of which 21%, or 231,000 use large capacity magazines. About 1.2 million are rifles, of which 30%, or 372,000 use large capacity magazines." The only rifles capable of using 10+ round detachable magazines are Armalite Rifle designs (AR), Kalishnikov-style (AK) rifles (not otherwise banned by name) or Ruger Mini-14/30. While I have nothing other than observation to come up with this, I would suggest that at least 250,000 (67%) of that 372,000 would be Armalite-design modern sporting rifles. Going to NICS data since YE2010, CT checks were: 2013 - 31,888 (Jan) 2012 - 237,496 2011 - 186,088 Total - 455,472 Assuming 40% of those are rifle sales and 50% of those are modern sporting rifles, we have another 91,094 MSRs into the market since YE2010. So adding 91,094 to 250,000 we have about 341,000 modern sporting rifles in the state of Connecticut. Best guess.
Thomas Paine February 16, 2013 at 02:04 AM
AZ - Do you know anything about the laws on the discharge of weapons in most cities and towns in CT? Especially center fire rifles. If you did, you would know that you can no legally discharge a rifle in the vast majority of land in the state that is anywhere near homes, roads, etc. Our deer problem is in exactly those areas, where they can not be easily hunted. Archery is more prevalent but even archers can not put a dent in the whitetail population. I have had three licensed hunters take three deer off my property since the fall and that is not a fraction of those who transit between the town park and the lake in my area. Seriously AZ, don't you know anything?
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Thomas, Six gun companies have decided to cease selling their goods to NY State law enforcement and other NY State agencies. They believe: "We don’t live in a police state: If it can’t be sold to citizens, it won’t be sold to State and local government." Governor Cuomo and his gun-hating laws caused this. How delicious, indeed. http://www.perigonmedia.com/gsl-six-gun-companies-tell-ny-no-guns-for-you/
Thomas Paine February 16, 2013 at 02:35 AM
I think Mark Larue started this telling LEOs that they will not sell arms to any state or local LE agency that can not be purchased by civilians in that state. Smart policy given manufacturers can not track their firearms once sold into a state and they do not want guns to pass into civilian hands that would be illegal. If others are adopting that policy, power to them. It would be even more effective if manufacturers pulled their production out of states where they can't sell their wares. Of course, the mommies of March and the professional gun-takers at CAGV won't care about this because they don't know anyone who work for any of the CT gun makers. And the illegal guns will still remain in illegal hands and the one to two young black men being killed each week will continue unabated, irrespective of whatever happens with black rifles.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 02:38 AM
AZ, Bu they pale in comparison to man as the Alpha Predator on this planet. A man can take a pencil and kill with it. Man is indeed the greatest Machine of Death. Can you make a law against that, or can you merely punish man when he breaks the law?
Thomas Paine February 16, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Yes, AZ, go off on a rant when faced with logic or facts that interrupt your incredibly stubborn and uninformed narrative. That is your prerogative of course. Given this is my blog post, I would love to exclude you from further comment but alas, I can not. Thus, I am hereby ignoring you from this point going forward. Sparring with you has lost what little novelty value it provided and has now become quite tedious.
Sandra February 16, 2013 at 03:22 AM
AZ-Guns don't kill people- LIBERALS DO. The Five Worst Mass Killings Have A Common Thread Ft Hood: Registered Democrat/Muslim. Columbine: Too young to vote; both families were registered Democrats and progressive liberals. Virginia Tech: Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff. Colorado Theater: Registered Democrat; staff worker on the Obama campaign; Occupy Wall Street participant; progressive liberal. Connecticut School Shooter: Registered Democrat; hated Christians. Common thread is that all of these shooters were progressive liberal Democrats.
Sandra February 16, 2013 at 03:30 AM
AZ-Liberal policies have ruined the lives of the the very people they claim to care about. http://www.humanevents.com/2013/01/15/thomas-sowell-liberalism-versus-blacks/ Some are doing very well. Michelle Obama is leaving for a ski trip with the girls to Aspen while Obama goes off to Florida for a private golf lesson with Tiger Woods. Taxpayers are paying for separate vacations. Let them eat cake!!
Archie Bunker IV February 16, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Here's some facts for you cutie pie: http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/Politics/pages-3/Poll-finds-eighty-percent-of-serial-killers-vote-Republican-Scrape-TV-The-World-on-your-side.html
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Archie, Scrape TV is a parody site, like The Onion. So much for your "facts". Try harder.
Thomas Paine February 16, 2013 at 04:29 AM
Kiddies, if you are going to play in by blog space, be courteous. Sandra, you are talking about rampage killers who shoot massive numbers of people in short periods of time. Archie, you are talking about serial killers who kill one or two people per event but string together many events over time. Interesting observation that is. Dems kill quickly and in mass quantities. Reps (if true Archie because that site you link to looks sketchy to me) kill slowly and over time. One observation Archie, the serial killers in your chosen source are all quite dated at this point with none within the past decade. And the photo of Palin on that page REALLY makes the veracity of that site's claims questionable to me.
Thomas Paine February 16, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Oh snap Donald, you typed faster than I did. Given that Archie is presenting parody sites as "fact", I will have to relegate him to the same level as AZ - the now ignored.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 04:48 AM
Thomas, Show Archie some mercy. He really thought he had something important to say and really thought he had Conservatives cornered. It's not his fault. He is, of course, the low-information voter pitting himself against intelligent Conservatives.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 05:46 PM
AZ = Troll. Buh-bye, AZ. It was amusing, but you're no longer humorous to us.
Kent February 16, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Donald, your smug condescension is getting tiresome – doesn’t a restless intellect such as yours have anything better to occupy yourself with than leaving sarcastic commentary and other assorted chides and provocations to those lesser beings that wish to offer their thoughts on this thread? Normally I don't read The Patch, let alone leave comments, primarily because I've discovered that a few individuals, yourself included, spend an inordinate amount of time perched there like so many crows on a phone wire, less interested in an open conversation than with mocking or otherwise disparaging the thoughts or opinions of others with whom you disagree or feel the need to ‘correct’. In your particular case, you betray any semblance of modesty by virtue of your frequent posts, which often appear to serve little purpose other than as a testament to your own cleverness, and of course for the flattery of your admirers. Apparently you’ve created quite a little cult of personality around yourself on The Patch, and through your other outlets for commentary (Perigon Media – a forum for others who share your decidedly twisted world views), but that doesn’t come as much of a surprise whenever you have a person with sufficient intelligence and command of the English language to impress and even rally the emotions of others, and generally those with less discerning intellects than your own.
Kent February 16, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Oh, and incidentally, this mutual admiration society you've formed with Thomas Paine here is kind of cute, sort of like Heckle and Jeckle, only not so funny. The issue of responsible gun laws in Connecticut is a serious issue, and not just another (albeit less lethal) of your play things. Now why don't you run along and play in a bigger pond somewhere.
Thomas Paine February 16, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Kent - Your points on Donald are well taken. But how about you abandon the snark and address some of the points made in the body of this post? Why is it so many apparent pro-gun control folks can stroll through a site, drop a snark bomb or two, and then ignore any reasoned debate? Are facts inconvenient to your worldview? I really want someone with some intelligence to tell me where the analysis above falls down. Coming through, calling someone a poppy head, and then moving on is not a sign of maturity nor intelligence.
Kent February 16, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Thomas, your mistake, if it's fair to call it that, is in supposing that I'm interested in defending someone else's opinions on the subject of gun control other than my own, which I don't care to offer here. If you'll reread my original comment, you'll understand that it’s the tone and often dismissive nature of the comments left by you and your tag team partner Donald all over the Patch on this subject that I find objectionable, and not necessarily the (generally unattributed) data that you’re presenting. And I’m not sure what a “poppy head” is, but I’m certain that I haven’t resorted to any name calling per se, as I have no more right to make such puerile-sounding pronouncements about another person’s character or belief system based on some of the opinions they’ve expressed in this forum than they do of me from mine. Good day to you.
gerald frank February 16, 2013 at 09:25 PM
so now what we have one dead parent..one dead son, a shcool that told him he needs help and, dead kids...we in CT have the best gun laws... we need to get the rest of the states with us in locking up our guns when not in use or carryed...we need priivate sales to be back ground checked for a fee $25.00? at a ffl dealers...we need a medical system that can and must tell the ploice the persons that will or could harm others or them self... we as gun owners do have this duty to protect the ones we love and the public at large...we all must work for the good of ALL...
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Kent, "Normally I don't read The Patch, let alone leave comments.." Your profile says otherwise.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 16, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Kent, We have responsible gun laws in CT already. Law-abiding citizens adhere to them. In CT the issue is focused on the horrific actions of Adam Lanza. He stole those weapons from his dead mother, whom he shot as well. Can you make a gun control law to stop that?
Alethiologist February 17, 2013 at 12:51 AM
How many jobs and how much revenue would Ct lose if Hartford enacts more gun control laws? I am certain other states would really love to poach CT gunmakers. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/16/colorado-gun-bill-could-cost-state-hundreds-jobs/?intcmp=obinsite
Alethiologist February 17, 2013 at 01:02 AM
She sums it up pretty well. Video takes just a few minutes. http://video.foxnews.com/v/2138468100001/

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