Criminologist Says Defensive Gun Uses Probably Are Underreported


Criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University defends his work on defensive gun use against “speculative criticisms” by two writers in Politico. In an article cited in Crime & Justice News, Evan DeFillipis and Devin Hughes accuse Kleck of overestimating the frequency of situations in which crime victims uses a gun to threaten or attack the offender in self-defense. “Surveys of the general public simply do not overestimate crime-related experiences,” Kleck says.

In fact, Kleck maintains in a rebuttal published in Politico, “survey respondents underreport (1) crime victimization experiences, (2) gun ownership and (3) their own illegal behavior. While it is true that a few respondents overstate their crime-related experiences, they are greatly outnumbered by those who understate them, i.e. those who falsely deny having the experience when in fact they did. In sum, research tells us that surveys underestimate the frequency of crime victimizations, gun possession and self-reported illegal behavior.”

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