Skip to comments.There Are Far More Defensive Gun Uses Than Murders in America. Here's Why You Rarely Hear of Them.
Posted on 09/22/2021 6:02:19 AM PDT by VictimsRightsPro2a
While Americans know that guns take many innocent lives every year, many don’t know that firearms also save them.
On May 15, an attacker at an apartment complex in Fort Smith, Ark., fatally shot a woman and then fired 93 rounds at other people before a man killed him with a bolt-action rifle. Police said he “likely saved a number of lives in the process.”
On June 30, a 12-year-old Louisiana boy used a hunting rifle to stop an armed burglar who was threatening his mother’s life during a home invasion.
On July 4, a Chicago gunman shot into a crowd of people, killing one and wounding two others before a concealed handgun permit holder shot and wounded the attacker. Police praised him for stepping in.
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearinvestigations.com ...
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The NRA Magazine(s) American Rifleman and American Hunter have a section called The Armed Citizen.
Link to some of this month’s:
That Time The CDC Asked About Defensive Gun Uses
Last month, I discussed the need for more robust and intellectually balanced research into gun use in the United States. In particular, I proposed that “Any Study Of ‘Gun Violence’ Should Include How Guns Save Lives.”
In particular, a 2013 study ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and conducted by The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and National Research Council reported that, “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence”:
Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.
Subsequently, I learned of a recent paper by Florida State University professor Gary Kleck, “What Do CDC’s Surveys Say About the Frequency of Defensive Gun Uses?“
Kleck looked at some previously unpublished results from the CDC surveys conducted in the 1990s and concluded:
In 1996, 1997, and 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted large-scale surveys asking about defensive gun use (DGU) in four to six states. Analysis of the raw data allows the estimation of the prevalence of DGU for those areas. Estimates based on CDC’s surveys confirm estimates for the same sets of states based on data from the 1993 National Self-Defense Survey (Kleck and Gertz 1995). Extrapolated to the U.S. as a whole CDC’s survey data imply that defensive uses of guns by crime victims are far more common than offensive uses by criminals. CDC has never reported these results.
Subsequently, Kleck removed this version of the paper, although a copy of the original can be found here. As reported by Reason editor Brian Doherty:
You will note the original link doesn’t work right now. It was pointed out to me by Robert VerBruggen of National Review that Kleck treats the CDC’s surveys discussed in this paper as if they were national in scope, as Kleck’s original survey was, but they apparently were not. From VerBruggen’s own looks at CDC’s raw data, it seems that over the course of the three years, the following 15 states were surveyed: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. (Those states, from 2000 census data, contained around 27 percent of the U.S. population.) Informed of this, Kleck says he will recalculate the degree to which CDC’s survey work indeed matches or corroborates his, and we will publish a discussion of those fresh results when they come in. But for now Kleck has pulled the original paper from the web pending his rethinking the data and his conclusions.
Furthermore, economist Alex Tabarrok has noted an interesting issue of statistics in his blog post, “Defensive Gun Use and the Difficult Statistics of Rare Events“:
People answering surveys can be mistaken and some lie and the reasons go both ways. Some people might be unwilling to answer because a defensive gun use might have been illegal (Would these people refuse to answer?). On the other hand, mischievous responders might report a defensive gun use just because that makes them sound cool.
The deep problem, however, is not miscodings per se but that miscodings of rare events are likely to be asymmetric. Since defensive gun use is relatively uncommon under any reasonable scenario there are many more opportunities to miscode in a way that inflates defensive gun use than there are ways to miscode in a way that deflates defensive gun use...
The bottom line is that it’s good to know that the original Kleck and Gertz survey replicated — approximately 1% of adult Americans did report a defensive gun use in the 1990s — but the real issue is the interpretation of the survey and for that a replication doesn’t help.
So what can Americans interested in rational gun policy make of this?
My own preliminary conclusions:
1) We still don’t really know how many defensive gun uses (DGUs) there are each year.
Doherty offers his own analysis of reasons why reported numbers might be both too low or too high in his 2015 article, “How to Count the Defensive Use of Guns.”
2) The number of DGUs has likely increased since the 1990s.
The numbers of Americans with legal concealed weapons permits has increased dramatically from the 1990s to today, as more states have adopted laws allowing such permits. It would make sense that the numbers of DGUs has likely increased as well.
CDC′s “Tom Harkin Global Communications Center” located on the organization′s Roybal Campus in... [+] Atlanta, GA. (Public domain image, courtesy Wikipedia.)
CDC′s “Tom Harkin Global Communications Center” located on the organization′s Roybal Campus in... [+] (PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE, COURTESY WIKIPEDIA.)
3) We don’t know why the CDC chose not to publish that data from the 1990s.
Kleck offers some ideas in his original paper. One possible explanation:
Another factor, however, might also have played a role in the decision of CDC personnel to not report the DGU findings. For CDC’s own surveys to generate high estimates of DGU prevalence was clearly not helpful to efforts to enact stricter controls over firearms, since it implies that some such measures might disarm people who otherwise would have been able to use a gun for self-protection.
One CDC official in the 1990s openly told the Washington Post that his goal was to create a public perception of gun ownership as something “dirty, deadly — and banned.” Given that history, I can’t dismiss Kleck’s critique.
4) The right to self-defense does not depend on statistics (echoing a point I made last month).
I especially like Doherty’s discussion on this:
However interesting attempts to estimate the inherently uncountable social phenomenon of innocent DGUs (while remembering that defensive gun use generally does not mean defensive gun firing, indeed it likely only means that less than a quarter of the time), when it comes to public policy, no individual’s right to armed self-defense should be up for grabs merely because a social scientist isn’t convinced a satisfyingly large enough number of other Americans have defended themselves with a gun.
In summary, the topics of “gun violence” and defensive gun uses are still topics worthy of objective scientific research. And again, any study of ‘gun violence’ should include how guns save lives.
I am a physician with long-standing interests in health policy, medical ethics and free-market economics. I am the co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine…
Ran across this while rooting around:
This is one of the things I usually point out to folks in gun arguments.
My typical analogy is with cars - if you were some kind of shut in, who only knew about cars what you saw on the national news, which is massive car pile ups, you might be inclined to say, why not just ban cars?
There are many instances where a legal gun carrier stopped a crime that do not get reported mostly because there is nothing really to report, a crime was not committed.
I carry. Once several years ago while I was fixing a computer at church and was the last person there just before dark as I left the building I saw a man testing all the windows to see if one were unlocked. He was an unkept man with a long beard and I assumed he was up to no good. I confronted and told him to go away. He acted like he was deaf. No matter what I did to try to communicate with him as I told him to leave he kept throwing up his hands like he couldn’t understand me. I pulled back my suit jacked and showed him the hilt of my gun in my trousers and his eyes got very big and suddenly turned around and quickly left the property.
What could I have reported and what news agency would have found it worthy of a story? Nobody would be interested in it. Regardless it was a gun incident in my opinion. I have never had to shoot my gun at someone and I hope I never have to but it has likely stopped at least one crime simply by being there.
I hate articles that say here’s why.
Lott has done some good longer articles / papers putting some national estimates on that sort of thing.
Often, gun owners save lives without firing a shot, just by brandishing the weapon to subdue a home invader, car-jacker, or street mugger. But that’s hardly a secret, just not mentioned in the excerpt posted.
The value of a gun is the deterrent value like in your story. Most people don’t report them out of fear of becoming the criminal for brandishing one.
A heavily armed populace is peaceful and polite...
Why is that?
I’m one of those who never reported using a pistol in self defense against an intruder in my home. The dude took off running out the back door when he saw I was armed.
No shots were fired.
Many years ago I rented a converted garage apt from a family from Trinidad.
One morning I heard a commotion in the driveway and looked out to see a guy threatening the son with a machete.
It’s a cliche but the sound of me racking a shotgun was all it took to make the guy with the machete run off.
I never said a word or showed myself.
The family made me an honorary member and every festival after that, Diwali, carnival and so on I had all the curry, roti and rum or whatever, that I could hold.
Just showing the gun is likely to stop an attempted assault. Unfortunately, here in New Jersey, if you do so you will be charged with “brandishing”. And if you have not begged the almighty state and been granted the (almost unobtainable) permission to carry your weapon outside your home or business, you will be charged with the number one gun “crime” in the state...illegal possession of a firearm.
They are clueless about the meaning of “shall not be infringed”.
They are clueless about the meaning of “shall not be infringed”. Or the bastards just choose to ignore it.
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