What killed more people than rifles in 2018? Basically everything.


The mainstream media will have you believe that rifles have lead to the mass destruction of America and the loss of countless lives. Spoiler alert: it’s not true.

As a matter of fact, for more than a decade, heart disease and cancer have claimed the first and second spots respectively as the leading causes of deaths in our country.

Combined, they add up to 46% of deaths in the United States.

When you combine that with the third most common cause of death — chronic lower respiratory diseases — the three diseases account for half of all deaths in the United States.

The data has been being collected for more than 30 years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the goal of helping researchers and doctors understand if they need to address growing epidemics in healthcare.

The idea is to also help leaders figure out how preventive measures may help people live longer and healthier lives.

Now let’s dive deeper.  In America, the top 12 causes of death make up more than 75 percent of all deaths.

1. Heart disease – Number of deaths per year: 635,260

2. Cancer – Number of deaths per year: 598,038

3. Accidents (unintentional injuries) – Number of deaths per year: 161,374

4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases – Number of deaths per year: 154,596

5. Stroke – Number of deaths per year: 142,142

6. Alzheimer’s disease – Number of deaths per year: 116,103

7. Diabetes – Number of deaths per year: 80,058

8. Influenza and pneumonia – Number of deaths per year: 51,537

9. Kidney disease – Number of deaths per year: 50,046

10. Suicide – Number of deaths per year: 44,965

11. Septicemia – Number of deaths per year: 38,940

12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis – Number of deaths per year: 38,170

What’s missing from that list?  Rifles.

That brings us to the kinds of conversations we should be having.  Like this one.

Walmart has made the decision to stop selling rifles amid the extreme controversy over gun control and mass shootings. 

But instead of being hailed as heroes, they’re instead being called hypocrites.


The truth is in the numbers. 

When we look at the facts, 403 people were killed in the United States by rifles in 2018. Walmart apparently sided with the “it’s the tool – not the person” reasoning and banned all rifle sales. 

But it seems like it’s a double standard.

Walmart springfield missouri


Despite the fact that nearly 11,000 people were killed over the same timeframe from drunk drivers, Walmart hasn’t banned the sale of alcohol in their stores. 

So which is it, Walmart? Is it the person who is to blame, or the item that contributed to the death?

The huge gap between the numbers is sad to see. 

Let’s take this a step further, and look at which causes of death took more lives than rifles in 2018.

According to the FBI, more than five times as many people were killed in 2018 by knives, clubs and other cutting instruments than with rifles.

What killed more people than rifles in 2018?  Basically everything.
A screenshot from the St. Paul officer’s body cam shows Ronald Davis attacking him with a knife. (St. Paul PD)


The metrics show that there were a total of 1,515 deaths by knives or other cutting instruments last year. Compare that against 297 people killed by rifles.

It’s a gap that widened significantly over 2017.  In that year, the FBI said nearly four times as many people were stabbed to death as killed with rifles.  During that year, the number of murders with rifles was around 400.

It gets better.  More than 100 more people were killed with hammers and clubs in 2018 than were killed by rifles.  There were 443 people killed with hammers, clubs, or other “blunt objects”.

We need to point out that the data isn’t just semiautomatic rifles – it’s ALL rifles, including bolt action, pump or lever action rifles as well.

If you were to contrast the numbers between JUST semiautomatic rifles and knife homicides, the gap would be even larger.

Here’s another number that will blow your mind.  The data also shows that in 2018, there were 672 deaths from “fists, feet and other ‘personal weapons’” – which is once again more than with rifles. 

In 2017, there were 692 people killed in the same way – a number larger than the total number of homicides by rifles and shotguns combined.

Numbers from the National Shooting Sports Foundation show that there are more than 16 million privately owned AR-15s in the United States.

Let’s look at the bigger picture, based on some 2016 data.

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

Rifles are only used in a small fraction of murders committed using firearms.

FBI data from that year showed that more than 7,100 people were killed using handguns, and that the vast majority of non-fatal crimes involving guns are also committed using handguns.

2012 study offers interesting reflections by a New Jersey intelligence center, which works in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Semiautomatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass shootings,” the report notes.

According to the CDC, in 2017, six-in-ten gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (23,854), while 37% were murders (14,542). 

The rest were either unintentional (486), involved law enforcement (553) or had undetermined circumstances (338).

In 2017, gun suicides reached their highest recorded level … yet the number of gun murders remained far below the peak in 1993, when there were 18,253 gun homicides.  Also during that time, overall violent crime levels in the U.S. were much higher than they are today.

What killed more people than rifles in 2018?  Basically everything.
(KYW Broadcast Screenshot)


And although 2017 also brought the highest total number of gun deaths in America, it doesn’t account for the growing population of the country.

When you break that down on a per-capita basis, we’re talking about 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 – the highest rate in more than two decades, but still well below the 16.3 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 1974, the highest rate in the CDC’s online database.

Suicides have long accounted for the majority of U.S. gun deaths.

Let’s dive further into that. 

Both the gun murder and gun suicide rates in America are both below where they were in the mid-1970’s. In 2017, there were 4.6 gun murders per 100,000 people – considerably below the 7.2 per 100,000 people in 1974.

In 2017, there were 6.9 gun suicides per 100,000 people – that number was 7.7 in 1977.

The overarching idea behind the “gun-control” debate is this: The left wants to take away every last ability for citizens to defend themselves. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

Last week, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.”

What killed more people than rifles in 2018?  Basically everything.


That hearing covered issues that were framed to overlook the false narrative that Americans need protection from inanimate objects, and not from violent people with criminal tendencies. People who will use anything and everything at their disposal to carry out their violent plans.

The hearing also revealed the true agenda of the Democratic leadership, which was to lay out arguments In favor of the repealing of the 2ndAmendment, the illegalization of weapons ownership, and the left’s complete refusal to engage in useful conversation regarding how Congress might attack the issue of gun safety.

Easily the most eye-opening claim of the proceedings came when Dr. RaShall Brackney, Chief of the Charlottesville Police Department in Virginia responded to a question from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) about whether she would support a ban on hunting rifles.

“I believe any weapon that can be used to hunt individuals should be banned,” Brackney replied.


Her statement seemed to indicate that she would be open to the banning of all firearms, and more specifically, all weapons.

So, for those keeping score at home, here is a list of items that would also need to be banned, according to the good doctor.

Guns. Knives. Vehicles. Baseball bats. Fire. Rocks. Rope. Screwdrivers. Hammers. Hands. The list goes on and on.

While Brackney did not actually call for a ban of these other items, that is essentially what she is doing in using such careless language. 

According to the NRA, Dr. Brackney was given two opportunities by pro-gun committee members to walk back or provide more context for that statement. Instead, she dug in and reiterated the statement.  

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) asked her directly, “Okay, so you then stand for the proposition to ban any type of firearm, because any firearm can be used and misused to kill people.”

Rather than answering the question directly, Dr. Brackney began talking about police and the social contract. Rep. Steube tried asking again, only to be interrupted by an anti-gun committee member who tried to raise a point of order.

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans?  It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans.  Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice.  Check it out today.

What killed more people than rifles in 2018?  Basically everything.


She claimed that Rep. Steube was “attacking” the witness – when in fact he was merely trying to get a straight answer – and requested that he “tone down his words.” That exchange took up most of Steube’s remaining time for questioning, which was not reinstated.

Again Rep. Steube tried, to clarify, asking:

“Any type of weapon … that can be used to kill people should be banned?”

And then the response…

“Sir,” Brackney replied, “you’re adding the word ‘type.’ I said ‘any weapons,’ so that’s my answer. Thank you.”

Okay, let’s pause here for a quick question.

Does anyone else have an issue with Dr. Police Chief saying that all means of self-defense should be outlawed, while sitting on the side of the table that would be allowed to keep weapons should the government ever follow her advice? 

Unfortunately, Dr. Brackney’s statements may have been one of the only honest claims of the entire hearing by those arguing in favor of the ban.

In an outright misrepresentation (or as we like to call them, lies), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a Harvard Law School graduate, told a breathtaking whopper about the U.S. Supreme Court’s pivotal Second Amendment decision, District of Columbia v. Heller:

He claimed the decision says, “the Second Amendment gives you a right to a handgun for purposes of self-defense and a rifle for purposes of hunting or recreation, but nowhere does it give you a right to weapons of war.”

In a very concise breakdown, the NRA said that the essence of the Heller decision is that Americans have a right to possess the sorts of bearable arms “in common use for lawful purposes,” particularly self-defense, and that handguns qualify because they are overwhelmingly chosen by responsible, law-abiding persons for that purpose.

Notably, the decision does not purport to overturn the 1939 Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Miller, which held that the Second Amendment protection extends to arms that are “part of the ordinary military equipment” or the use of which “could contribute to the common defense.”

It also notes that while Americans of the founding era might have owned firearms primarily for self-defense and hunting, the founders themselves wanted to ensure the Second Amendment provided an effective check against disarming the people, which in turn was necessary to “be able to resist tyranny.”

Nowhere does either decision suggest that rifles are only protected to the extent they are used for hunting or recreation. Indeed, Heller makes clear that self-defense is the “core lawful purpose” with which the Second Amendment is concerned.

Our future might be in serious trouble. 

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
Facebook Follow First
Submit a Correction
Related Posts