The Federal Bureau of Investigation released crime statistics for 2018, indicating knives were more than five times as likely to be used as a murder weapon than rifles were.
A fact sheet of the FBI’s 2018 crime statistics published in October detailed some of the Bureau’s analysis of crime statistics, particularly studying the types of weapons used in murders. Rifles, as a particular category of firearm, were used to kill 297 people in 2018. By comparison, knives and other cutting instruments were the murder weapon for 1,515 murders in 2018.
The rifle category of firearms is a broad one comprised of bolt, pump, and lever-action firearms in addition to semi-automatic firearms like AR-15s, suggesting semi-automatic rifles comprise an even smaller number than the 297 total murders by rifle in 2018.
As a complete category in the FBI statistics, all firearms accounted for 10,265 of the 14,123 murders assessed for the year 2018 with handguns being used as the primary weapon in murders.