From Market Watch:
The number of murders in the U.S. in 2011 committed with rifles: 323.
The number involving handguns? A whopping 6,220. Or 49% of the 12,664 homicides committed in the U.S. in 2011, according to FBI data. And that’s a longstanding pattern. See murder statistics by weapon.
The huge gap suggests President Obama’s call for new firearm restrictions would do little to reduce the number people murdered each year – even if a reluctant Congress were to pass all his requests. His proposals don’t really address handguns.
Obama on Wednesday asked Congress to reinstall a lapsed ban on so-called assault rifles and set a 10-bullet limit on the size of magazines, among his more far-reaching proposals. He also implemented a series of minor measures by executive order. Obama seeks overhaul of U.S. gun laws.
Obama cited the recent shooting in Newtown, Conn, in an emotional appeal asking Americans to support fresh gun-control measures. The Newtown killer, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster AR-15 to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook elementary school, including 20 children.
The number of murders per 100,000 people has shrunk from a peak of 10.2 in 1980 to 4.7 in 2011.
The FBI also reports “murder and non-negligent manslaughter” has fallen from 23,760 in 1992 to 14,612 in 2011 – a 39% decline. (The FBI uses different categories to classify murders). See FBI data here.
As for rifles, they are used even less than body parts, blunt instruments or sharp objects to commit murder.