In the early part of January of this year the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I) released the latest data regarding the use of firearms in murders in the U.S.A. Now these figures are compiled from official data, received from all the states, the information is released every year regardless of the incumbent president's personal agenda.
The latest figures, for 2012, show that more citizens in the U.S were killed by being punched or hit with a blunt instrument of some description, like a hammer for example, than were killed by shotguns or rifles. The total number of deaths committed with fists, hammers and other blunt objects 1196. That breaks down further to 518 murders by people using hammers and other blunt objects, and 678 were killed by people who used their fists.
You may wonder why this information is important, well the figures relate to the U.S, not here, but at least their government publishes the figures for all to see in an open and readily available manner. Now the U.K government also publishes figures, which are available if you know where to look, but they are not so specific. Firearms crimes are not broken down in the same way so as to be able to draw any concrete conclusions. They include all firearms, whether legal or not, I am more than cognisant of the fact that if you do happen to be unfortunate to a victim of a shooting, the legitimacy of the firearm is pretty immaterial at that point, but that's the trouble. The use of legitimately held firearms being used in a criminal activity is negligible to say the least.
To put it another way, not so many years ago it was proposed that seat belts be fitted to trains, so that in the case of a train accident, the occupants would be held securely and lives saved, just the same as when you drive your car. The mathematicians got their calculators out and opined that the chances of being involved in a train crash were so small, that the risk was inconsequential. The cost of fitting the belts and enforcing their use would cost far too much to the rail operators and for no discernable gain.
The statistical chances of being harmed in way by a legitimate firearms user are as rare as a train wreck, let alone being shot by them. However, the chances of you being harmed by a criminal, should you be unfortunate to encounter one, are at best 50/50. All criminals have weapons which they will use to achieve their aim, they may punch or kick the target of their attention, these weapons when used cause minor abrasions all the way to death for the victim. Some criminals will have a knife, and on the whole this is not the tool that hunters, shooters or fishermen and fisherwomen use, it is the utensil that we can all find every day in our homes. A small minority of criminals, certainly here in the U.K, will carry a gun, and again not the sort that hunters, clay shooters or target shooters use, but usually an illegally imported, un-regulated firearm.
Politicians here in the U.K like to keep these statistics in this vague, all-encompassing manner, as it enables them to introduce ever more stringent and onerous laws and regulations on law abiding members of society. Cases of "illegal" knife possession appear on a regular basis, but when you look further into the case, it's often some poor fisherman, who has grabbed their coat, or been driving their car, having left their pocket knife in the glove box or boot, and then not having a legitimate reason for being in possession of said knife at the time of arrest. It is not limited to the perceived appearance of a knife either, Swiss army knives, Leatherman's and multi tool owners have all fallen foul of the "proper reason for possession". Placing all of these, up until this point, law abiding members of society in the same statistical figures as muggers, burglars, rapists and criminals of all description, allows them to produce figures saying how well they (the politicians and police) are doing in stopping crime, which in the real world could not be further from the truth.
So do not forget that at the end of day, whether it's a hammer, knife, gun or any other inanimate object, the object commits no crime. The crimes are committed by the person, using the objects in a criminal manner, and the most common weapon used is the one, that at present, the political classes have not found a way of controlling.