You Can Believe the Data: Good People with Guns Save Lives

Written by Rob Morse on September 21, 2018

You might never need to defend yourself. That depends on both luck and skill. According to FBI statistics, someone in your family will be the victim of violent crime over your lifetime. Fortunately, you can defend yourself with more than good luck, but only if you are prepared. Self-defense happens. About six thousand honest gun owners defend themselves every day. Vice magazine said they couldn’t find those examples of armed self-defense, so we’ll do it for them. The truth is easy to find once you look.

Criminology Professor Gary Kleck performed one of the first large scale general surveys asking if we used a gun for self-defense. Kleck interviewed approximately 4500 US citizens about their experience during 1993. The professor concluded there were approximately 2.5 million cases of civilian defensive gun use. That averages to about 6800 incidents each day. That data is out there, but Vice magazine couldn’t find it.

During the Obama Administration, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention performed a literature search and found estimates from half a million (0.5) to over three million defensive gun uses each year depending on the study. Lots of data is available unless you refuse to see it.

It turns out that the CDC was sitting on more data. Some 5000 survey contacts were made starting in 1994 during the Clinton administration. The CDC data from the 1990s was never published. Fortunately, the data was recovered in 2018. When extrapolated across the US, the new CDC data implied three million instances of defensive gun use. When you are making up your own facts, then you’ll ignore the government’s own data on self-defense.

That old data would extrapolate to over ten thousand defensive events a day when corrected for the larger US population in 2018. Fortunately, the rates of robbery and aggravated assault have gone down since the 1990s. That is great news.

Criminologists focus on the numbers. I focus on the experience of individual victims as they defended themselves. I produce Self-Defense Gun Stories where we’ve discussed hundreds of honest citizens using a firearm. As you would expect, criminals look for victims everywhere, and criminals will attack anyone. Good guys and gals with guns make a difference.

A web search gives me new examples every week. I’m sure Vice has an internet connection, so why didn’t they use it?

Sometimes good guys with guns make the headlines as they save lives. Steven Willeford shot the murderer at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Two armed citizens converged on an attacker at Louie’s Grill and Bar in Oklahoma City. Last week, an armed citizen used his gun to help stop a criminal who was shooting at several police officers in Cicero, Illinois. It doesn’t take much research to find those examples.

Should you learn to use a gun to defend yourself and your family? If your luck runs out, then you can even the odds. You can defend the people you care about.

That is what good guys and gals do every day. We know because we did the research.

The original article was published at the SlowFacts blog.

I gave you 500 words for free. Please share this article and leave a comment in return. RM

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