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More TV shows push Criminals Using Machine Gun Myth: CBS’ The Equalizer and Magnum PI

John Lott - Crime Prevention Research Center | Published on 8/7/2022
As the Crime Prevention Research Center has pointed out many, many times, television crime shows seem to think criminals are constantly using machine guns to commit crime. In real life, criminals generally use machine guns so rarely that a 2016 survey of prison inmates only broke down the numbers for uses in crime of handguns (11.2%), rifles (0.8%), and shotguns (1.1%). There are few rifles, and the survey did not even mention fully automatic weapons. A similar finding is available from the FBI UCR report where 2.6% of all murders involve rifles of any type and 0.3% of all murders involve unspecified “other guns.” There is a reason for that. Since 1934, there was only one possible known use ever of a civilian using a machine gun in a murder. And even before 1934, they were very rare.