Two hundred and ninety-eight felons died in 2018 “… during the commission of a felony …” when armed private citizens shot the attackers, according to the FBI’s latest release from its Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The statistical study does not inventory the more common encounters when a civilian’s presentation, declaration or firing of a self-defense firearm was effective at stopping other perpetrators.
The latest release also indicates an overall decline in crime rate. “There were an estimated 368.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018, a rate that fell 3.9 percent when compared with the 2017 estimated violent crime rate and dropped 14.6 percent from the 2009 estimate,” according to the report.
The drop comes at a time when firearm sales have increased dramatically in the past few years, a fact an NRA-ILA blog put into perspective. “Contrary to mainstream media reports, the 2018 data reflected the continuation of a violent crime rate decline that has persisted for nearly 30 years. In other words, even as the number of firearms has exponentially increased and the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban expired, crime nonetheless declined.”
Homicides in 2018 dropped by 7 percent when compared to 2017 numbers, and only 2 percent of the cases involved the use of a rifle. Elizabeth McGuigan wrote in a National Shooting Sports Foundation blog that, “Through 2016, there have been over 16 million modern sporting rifles in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Meanwhile, violent crime is declining. The message is clear. Tragic criminal actions must be addressed. Banning certain types of firearms is not the answer.”
The FBI release also broke down the types of crimes covered in its report. “Aggravated assaults accounted for 66.9 percent of violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 2018,” it wrote. “Robbery offenses accounted for 23.4 percent of violent crime offenses; rape (legacy definition) accounted for 8.4 percent; and murder accounted for 1.3 percent.”
Handguns led the way in the list of firearm types used by private citizens to stop felons in the commission of a felony.