Gun Use in Self-Defense is Minimal, Study Says

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Private citizens rarely use guns to kill criminals or stop crimes, contends a new study from the Violence Policy Center, an advocacy group. The center cites recent federal data showing that private citizens use guns to harm themselves or others far more often than to kill in self-defense. The study said that in 2015 there were only 265 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm reported to the FBI. Seventeen states reported zero justifiable homicides in 2015. That year, there were 9,027 criminal firearm homicides.

In 2015, for every justifiable homicide in the U.S. involving a gun, guns were used in 34 criminal homicides. This ratio does not even take into account the tens of thousands of lives lost in gun suicides and unintentional shootings that year. The study found that only a tiny fraction of the intended victims of violent crime or property crime employed guns for self-defense. From 2014 to 2016, only 1.1 percent of victims of attempted or completed violent crimes used a firearm, and only 0.3 percent of victims of attempted or completed property crimes used a firearm. “The myth of the self-defense gun lives on in firearms industry ads, NRA dogma, and self-serving political rhetoric. The reality is that guns don’t save lives, they end them,” said the center’s director, Josh Sugarmann.

7 thoughts on “Gun Use in Self-Defense is Minimal, Study Says

  1. Is the VPC advocating that every criminal stopped by a gun (500,000 plus) be shot dead so the statistics look better? Apparently the VPC see no benefit in stopping a crime unless the criminal is shot dead.

  2. It’s all spelled out clearly in this excellent summary written by Bruce W. Krafft at thetruthaboutguns:
    According to the Kleck-Gertz study from the mid 1990s, there are between 2.1 and 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGU’s) annually.
    Now there are a lot of people out there who deride this number as ludicrous. But they’re unable or (more likely) unwilling to accept that Dr. Kleck is not a shill for the Gun Lobby™. This, despite the good doctor disclosing in his 1997 book Targeting Guns that . . .
    The author is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Independent Action, Democrats 2000, and Common Cause, among other politically liberal organizations He is a lifelong registered Democrat, as well as a contributor to liberal Democratic candidates.
    That translates to over 25,000 lives saved annually by guns.
    According to the CDC, between 1999 and 2010 there were an average of 11,740 gun-related homicides annually. In 2014 the number was 10,945.
    Bottom line: for every criminal firearm homicide (most of which consist of criminals shooing other criminals) more than two lives are saved by defensive gun uses.
    Protection against government tyranny considerations aside, this is the human value of the Second Amendment.”

  3. So, according to VPC logic it only counts as a defensive gun use if a victim shoots and kills their attacker.
    Shoots and wounds, doesn’t count.
    Holds at gunpoint until the police arrive, doesn’t count.
    Upon discovering that their intended victim is armed, the criminal flees, doesn’t count.
    Obviously the VPC was desperate for a ten second sound bite to bolster their anti gun agenda hoping that no one would look past the headline to discover such a foolish and flawed premise.

  4. In the face of irrefutable studies by Gary Kleck, John Lott, the CDC and FBI Crime Reports, this tired, recycled meme by VPC is blatantly disingenuous and utter balderdash.

    But the VPC will keep on mooing this nonsense, regardless.

  5. This study arrived at the conclusion that 1.1% (177,000) of victims of a violent attack useing a firearm to defend themselves and .03% (123,000) of victims of a property crime using a firearm to defend themselves is some how rare?
    I would be willing to bet the 300,000 people who defended their life and property don’t feel minimized, and I would also wager that a substantial number of the 99% of other victims sure wish they had a firearm on them at the time af the attack.

  6. This would be funny (in a ridiculous way) if it weren’t so sad. To state the obvious 100% of the criminal who shot someone where armed. In 2015 approximately 4% of the U.S. population had concealed carry permits. Only about half of those people carry on a consistent, usual basis. The VPC and politicians who think like them create gun free zones and make it difficult or illegal to carry a weapon where you are most likely to need it. The result of only 1.1% of crime victims being able to defend themselves is the obvious outcome. The VPC obviously wants that number to be 0%. Happily, the number of people with permits continues to rise at a brisk pace. Don’t worry these numbers will improve. As the criminal class realizes that their activity comes with increased risks, violent crime will drop. Also, does anyone else wonder who the anti self defense hack who decided to reprint this propaganda is?

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