The estimated number of violent crimes across the United States declined slightly in 2017 by 0.2% from the previous year, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
Last year, there were 15,129 homicides in the country, of which 10,982 were committed with firearms. As in previous years, handguns made up the bulk of those gun-related murders, at 7,032.
The number that got most attention from gun rights activists is 403, which is the number of slayings involving rifles of any kind, not just semi-autos. There were also 264 murders committed with shotguns, the FBI report said.
There were also 3,283 firearm-related murders in which the gun used could not be or was not identified.
Additionally, 1,591 people were stabbed or slashed to death, another 467 were bludgeoned and 692 were beaten, stomped or strangled to death.
But the number of rifle-related slayings is significant especially as it relates to on-going efforts by gun prohibition lobbying groups to enact stricter laws or outright bans on so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles.”
Historically, rifles have not been the most popular weapon of choice for people who killed using guns. The figure for rifle slayings is typically in the 2- to 4-percent range of all murders.
Yet these are the firearms that seem to be the most popular target of criticism by anti-gunners. By some estimates, there are more than 16 million modern sporting rifles in private ownership nowadays. According to the FBI, 2017 saw an estimated 1,247,321 violent crimes. Robberies declined an estimated 4.0% from the previous year, and murder and non-negligent homicide fell by 0.7% from the estimate of 2016.
However, aggravated assault and rape were up 1.0 and 2.5% respectively, the FBI report said.
While property crimes declined with a drop 7.6% for the number of burglaries, larceny-thefts fell by 2.2%. Auto theft was up by 0.8%.