Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meme-Busters: On Hammers and Guns

There's a new meme floating around on the right-wing hemiblogosphere: that according to the FBI more people are killed with hammers than guns. This seems to be the last stop in the game of telephone that began with a claim that more people are killed with hammers and clubs than with rifles. The implication, of course, is that it's silly for those liberals to claim that assault weapons are dangerous and should be banned; why don't we ban hammers and clubs while we're at it?

OK, here's the FBI report. These are the relevant points:

  • All blunt instruments combined-- rocks, bricks, concrete blocks, baseball bats, hammers, steel pipes, tire irons, golf clubs, frying pans, snow globes, and so on-- kill more people than rifles. This doesn't strike me as surprising.
  • On the other hand, rifles plus shotguns kill more people than all blunt instruments combined.
  • Guns (mostly handguns, of course) kill seventeen times as many people as all blunt instruments combined.
And you can look it up.

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