It is a “tragic myth” that millions of gun owners successfully use their firearms to defend themselves and their families from criminals, write Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes of a group called ArmedWithReason in Politico. Despite having little no academic support in public health literature, this myth is the largest motivation behind gun ownership, they write. The self-defense idea comes from a two-decades-old series of surveys that the writers contend have been thoroughly repudiated. The surveys contend that there are between 1 million and 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year.
In fact, the writers maintain, gun owners are far more likely to end up accidentally shooting an innocent person or seeing their weapons harm a family member than be heroes warding off criminals. New data compiled by the Gun Violence Archives found that for all of 2014 there were fewer than 1,600 verified defensive guns uses in the U.S., meaning a police report was filed.