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
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?