ICBM Logic


Banning “Assault Weapons” is like Swatting a Fly with a 100 Mega Ton ICBM

The left is constantly droning on about the need to ban the AR-15 because they are “often used to kill mass amounts of people” and they are “the favorite weapon of mass shooters,” but do those claims stand up to logical scrutiny?  Let us examine the situation, and do so using the numbers that those who seek to ban the guns use (I don’t necessarily agree that their numbers are remotely accurate).

So, just how many evil AR-15’s are out there in private hands?  Since that number is not really tracked, for a number of reasons, there are estimations.  Slate magazine published an article shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre happened in which they attempted to analyze how many AR-15’s were in the US at that time.

“Add everything together, make all the necessary caveats, carry the two, and we reach the conclusion that there are somewhere around 3,750,000 AR-15-type rifles in the United States today.” (December, 2012)

Now, personally, I think this number is probably low.  It does not account for home built rifles built from 80% lowers, and this article four years old, written before there was a HUGE boom in the AR-15 market (that coincided with the huge push from the left to ban them).  I would actually estimate that number to be closer to 5 million, but I will just go with their numbers as doing so boosts their (very weak) argument, not mine.

Next, we need to look at all the mass shootings that were accomplished using AR-15’s.  For the sake of argument, and because the left includes them when they really should not, I will also include the terrorist attacks in which the terrorists used an AR-15.

It was very difficult to find any articles (from liberal sources) that actually examined the frequency with which the AR-15 is used in mass shootings.  Google search after google search revealed all sorts of articles claiming (inaccurately) that the AR-15 is the “weapon of choice” for mass shooters.  Only one article actually examined the numbers.

An article from June, 2016 on “Bustle” (never heard of it before today) looked at how many mass shootings involved an AR-15.  As I was unaware of this website and whether or not it leaned left, I read the article to get a feel.  It took all of two paragraphs to figure out that it is most definitely left leaning.  The author used numbers from Mother Jones’ “Mass Shooting Tracker” to come up with their numbers, and he accurately pointed out that in fact, most “mass shootings” were accomplished using handguns, not AR-15’s like the rest of the liberal media claims.  Additionally, the author did indeed note that some weapons referred to by the mainstream media were indeed NOT AR-15’s, he still included ALL incidents involving “assault weapons” and not just those accomplished with an AR-15, like the title of his article said he was going to.  Still, we are using the left’s numbers so let’s run with it.

“Of the 48 total mass shootings since 2004, 13 featured semiautomatic or assault rifles.”

So, now that we know how many AR-15’s there are, and how many “mass shootings” they were used in over a twelve year period, let’s take a look at (what should be) the most important factor in determining if something should be banned:  what is the percentage of the product being misused?

13 ÷ 3,750,000 = 0.0000035

To put that in a more easily recognizable statement, using the numbers provided by liberals who want to ban them, an AR-15 stands a 0.00035% chance that is going to be used in a mass shooting.  That is only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent.  Who logically argues for a law based on those sorts of numbers?

Now, to make the lunacy of this desire to ban “assault weapons” even more apparent, since they included all “assault weapons” in the total number of mass shootings, we should logically look at how many “assault weapons” there are in the US.  The list of weapons that politicians have deemed “assault weapons” is rather lengthy, and despite the left’s desire to ban them, I was unable to find any article produced by a leftist publication that gave an estimate for how many of them there are in private hands, although there were plenty claim that the US is “saturated” with them.

Since I could not find a liberal source estimating the numbers, I am forced to use what is likely deemed a “pro-gun” article as it is the only one I can find offering an estimate.  According to the information provided on “Goal,” there are between 20-30 million “assault rifles” in private ownership in the US at the time that article was written (sadly, there is no publication date).  Using the smaller estimated number, the ridiculousness of the argument becomes even more apparent.

13 ÷ 20,000,000 = 0.00000065

In other words, there is a 0.000065% chance that one of the 20 million assault rifles in private hands in the US will be used in a mass shooting.  Knowing that, if you still want to ban “assault weapons” then it is plainly clear that logic has no place in your thought process.


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Deputy Sheriff at California
Matt is a full time Deputy Sheriff that has been on the job since 1996. During his time as a LEO he's attended countless training classes and is a court recognized firearms expert. Matt brings a unique perspective to discussion regarding the second amendment given his LEO experience and life time appreciation of firearms and our 2nd Amendment rights.