I keep hearing about a proposed ban on assault rifles. As I’ve mentioned before I’m not really sure what they mean by assault rifle. I’m going to assume they mean an AR15 which is nothing more than a semi-automatic rifle stylized after a military rifle capable of automatic fire. I linked to another blog which details why a ban is no solution. Anyway someone mentioned hammers cause more homicides than rifles, yet no one seems to be worried about a hammer.

I had a hard time believing that at first so I checked the FBI Unified Crime Reports. And sure enough, hammers account for more homicides each year than rifles, and I’m not talking a particular kind of rifle, the report is for all rifles. The most recent full data published is 2011 so the average from 2007 to 2011 for hammer homicides is 584. During the same time period the average for rifle homicide is 375. I wish the report broke out the homicides by caliber and then we could have some real data on approximately how many homicides involved military inspired firearms. What I do know is a centerfire rifle is lethal at least 80% of the time. Using that knowledge there would have also been cases of attempted homicide by rifle which would increase the total of homicide and attempted homicide by rifle to 469. Soak up for a second that hammers were involved in 584 homicides and nobody knows how many might be attempted homicides. So hammers were involved in more homicides than rifles in homicides and attempted homicides.

So let’s take a look at a hammer. It cannot hurt anyone without being thrown, dropped or handled. It takes a human interaction to make a hammer dangerous. Most hammers today have safety warnings on them. There are a myriad of hammer types and all can hurt you if mishandled. I’ve never been to the hospital after using a hammer, but have smashed enough fingers to know I don’t want to ever dot that again. I had a family member who had a hammer rebound and split their upper lip with the claw. I’d dare say if you own a hammer and have used it for more than putting up a picture on the wall you have hurt yourself in some way using it, probably on more than one occasion. There are no accurate number on hammer injuries, but the estimate is 50,000 per year require medical assistance. So we all must agree hammers are dangerous, right? No, people are the cause of injuries, hammers are simply tools. Sound familiar?

So should we ban hammers or restrict a particular type of hammer because of the appearance of the hammer? Isn’t it time we stop hammer violence? Shouldn’t we register and regulate hammers which cause thousands of injuries requiring medical assistance and probably millions of injuries each year?

The answer is no, we don’t need restrictions based on appearance and if you took away all hammers people would probably find something else to use for homicides. Hands, fists, and feet already average 812 homicides per year. Leave the hammer, a tool, alone.