The Numbers Behind Maryland Semi-Auto Ban Lies

The Washington Post advises Maryland to pass a ban on “assault-style” weapons in the editorial “A Roll Call on Weapons.” The Post acknowledges a problem with truthfulness from a Violence Policy Center report which appears to have lied about the “one-in-five” number of police officers killed with such firearms. But the Post dismisses that deception by asking, “What if the statistic were one in 20?” That is a question worth exploring.

Maryland is one of the most violent states with the highest rate of robbery for the past 8 years and high rates of murder and assaults. So, the weapons used to kill Maryland police officers should be of interest to Maryland legislators as they consider any ban.

If we look at the Maryland police officers who have died during the period 1988 through 2003 from trauma received in felonious assaults, we have a total of 19 deaths. One was from stabbing, one from stabbing until incapacitation then the officer’s handgun was used to finish him off, one assaulted with an automobile and 16 were straight shootings. Of wounds from these 16 shooting deaths 12 were from handguns, 3 from ordinary shotguns and one from a rifle. According to the Post 1 in 20 criteria, handguns should be banned, shotguns should be banned and rifles should be banned by Maryland.

Here we have a moment of unintended truth from the Post. All guns should be banned from ownership by the people. The Post may claim that isn’t their intent. If so, they need to explain why they would leave some firearms, handguns say, in the hands of the people which are involved in more officer deaths than the ones they recommend banning.

Perhaps the Post might want to exempt rifles from its one-in-20 criteria when it hears that the one officer dying from a rifle wound was actually shot in 1977 and died 23 years later and 10 years after retiring with 20 years on the force. If we remove that one death from the list, then no officers died from rifle wounds received in the 16 year period cited.

That’s right, Maryland officers have not been shot and killed with AK-47s, AR-15s, M-1As… or any rifle whatsoever during 16 years examined (and this is the record in one of the most violent states in the union). Perhaps the Post should re-think its support for banning “assault-style” firearms.