The holy grail for gun control activists: cold hard proof of that firearms are inherently evil. They seek the ability to point to a conclusive study that states, once and for all, that firearms do more harm than good. It’s their Holy Grail tipping point: irrefutable proof that we need to ditch a Constitutionally protected right. But every time such a study purporting to do that surfaces, the mental gymnastics required to make the data fit the desired conclusion are obvious. If you look closely enough . . .
The Violence Policy Center recently published just such a report, touted by HuffPo as definitive proof that guns are more of a curse than a blessing. Once again it does more to prove that gun control activists flunked high school statistics and logic classes than “prove” that guns are evil. From The Hill:
The left-leaning Violence Policy Center released a study Wednesday that finds people are much more likely to use a gun to kill someone without cause than to protect themselves.
According to the study, gun owners committed 259 justifiable homicides compared to 8,342 criminal homicides in 2012, the most recent year data was available.
That means gun owners are 32 times more likely to kill someone without cause than to act in self-defense, the study reasoned.
The issue here: the Violence Policy Center isn’t being truthful when they say that this is a comprehensive review of defensive gun uses (DGUs). The VPC opnly counts cases of justifiable homicide — an instance where someone pulled their gun and killed someone and the incident was ruled justifiable by the police and/or the courts — as a legitimate DGU for the purposes of their report.
What about situations where the attacker was incapacitated, but not killed? Those numbers didn’t make it into the VPC’s report. How about situations where a law abiding citizen pulled his gun, and the mere appearance of the firearm was enough to deter the attacker? The VPC doesn’t consider that to be a “legitimate” defensive gun use either. According to the Violence Policy Center, the only legitimate defensive gun use is one in which someone dies.
Out here in the real world, where logic and rational thinking trump ideology and personal biases, that assertion simply doesn’t hold water.
An attacker that turns tail and runs away when presented with a law abiding citizen holding a firearm is, in fact, a defensive gun use. A situation where an attacker was wounded but not killed is, in fact, a defensive gun use. No matter how much the VPC wants to stick their fingers in their ears and scream “I CAN’T HEAR YOU” the fact of the matter is that their report isn’t worth the ones and zeroes used to transmit it through the internet because they made a fundamental error in their methodology and discarded a huge chunk of perfectly valid data.
Are there more DGUs than crimes committed with guns? I don’t know, but a bunch of smart people say yes. And they did far more due diligence than the VPC has ever done. So don’t worry when your anti-gun friend forwards you a link “proving” that gun ownership is a net negative. It isn’t. Keep calm, link to TTAG and carry on.