By Michael V. Gregory

Gun control focus misplaced

The current discussion on gun violence is totally disconnected from reality. That reality is the actual data on the FBI website (visit, and search “expanded homicide data 2011,” and select Table 8). There you will find annual data for murder victims broken down by weapon type.

In 2011 (the latest data): 12,664 individuals were murdered, of which 6,220 were murdered by handguns, 323 murdered by rifles, and 356 murdered by shotguns. There are a total of 16 categories broken out. That includes: 1,694 murdered by knives or cutting instruments; 496 murdered by blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.); 728 murdered by personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).

Our political class is obsessing on the control of assault style weapons. From the FBI data, a maximum of 323 individuals were murdered in 2011 by such weapons. Of course, if you were one of those individuals, or one of their family members, that is one too many.

But, in the broader societal context, more than five times as many were murdered with knives, and almost 20 times as many were murdered with handguns. Significantly more people were simply beaten to death, literally at the hands of the criminal. So why all this focus on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines?

The obvious conclusion is that we are spectators at a political charade. The primary focus on controlling gun violence should be upon reducing handgun murders.

But that would require raising questions embarrassing to the political class as to the who and where of handgun murders. That would require a totally different focus than today’s meaningless Washington kabuki theater (with my profound apologies to the honorable, ancient art of kabuki).

Michael V. Gregory