Here’s a fact you’ll never see in mainstream media accounts of “gun violence” in America: defensive gun uses save more than twice as many lives than the number lost in criminal gun uses. Here are the numbers:

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.

He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of, or contributor to, the National Rifle Association, Handgun Control, Inc. nor any other advocacy organization, nor has he received funding for research from any such organization.

But skeptics gotta skeptic. Antis prefer their own “reality.” So let’s go ahead and throw the K-G number out in favor of something more conservative.

Let’s use the numbers from the study commissioned by the Clinton DoJ shortly after the K-G study was published.

That study was conducted by Drs. Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig, longtime proponents of strict gun control. It concluded that there were 1.46 million DGUs per year.

Some reject even this lower number. Instead, they put their faith in the National Crime Victimization Surveys‘ estimate that there are between 50k and 100k DGUs per year. (A number that’s still higher than the number of annual firearms-related homicides.)

The NCVS seriously undercounts the number of DGUs. I’ll let Dr. Tom Smith, Senior Fellow and Director of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago explain:

. . .  the estimates of the NCVSs are too low. There are two chief reasons for this. First, only DGUs that are reported as part of a victim’s response to a specified crime are potentially covered.

While most major felonies are covered by the NCVSs, a number of crimes such as trespassing, vandalism, and malicious mischief are not. DGUs in response to these and other events beyond the scope of the NCVSs are missed.

Second, the NCVSs do not directly inquire about DGUs. After a covered crime has been reported, the victim is asked if he or she “did or tried to do [anything] about the incident while it was going on.”

Indirect questions that rely on a respondent volunteering a specific element as part of a broad and unfocused inquiry uniformly lead to undercounts of the particular of interest.

There’s another problem with the failure to directly inquire about DGUs: the DGU question is only triggered by someone saying they were the victim of a crime. If someone came towards me with a knife saying “Gimme your wallet” and I put my hand on my weapon and replied “I don’t think so, Skippy,” causing the assailant to retreat, was I the victim of a crime?

Before I started researching these issues I would have told the NCVS interviewer that no, I hadn’t been the victim of a crime and they never would have learned of my DGU.

To figure out how many lives are saved by defensive gun uses, I turn once again to Kleck and Gertz’s article Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun. They found that 15.7 percent of people involved in a DGU believed that they “almost certainly” saved theirs or someone else’s life.

That might strike some people as an awfully large percentage. But if you take into account the fact that most locales regard the mere act of pulling a gun as deadly force, combined with the fact that most places require someone to be in “reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm” before he or she can lawfully use deadly force, the number seems feasible.

In addition to the “almost certainly” pool, The K-G study also found that 14.6 percent of respondents believed that someone “probably would have” been killed if not for their DGU.

Because I want my numbers to be distinctly conservative let’s say that nine out of 10 of the “almost certainly” folks were wrong. And let’s say that 99 out of 100 of the “probably” people were also incorrect. That means we can state with a fair degree of certainty that at least 1.716 percentof the 1.46 million DGUs actually saved a life.

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.

42 Responses to More Lives Are Saved by Defensive Gun Uses Than Taken by Criminal Gun Uses

  1. The Kleck and NCVS studies were cited in the CDC study ordered by our previous President. Another study you dont hear of much for some reason.

    “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence,
    although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996;
    Kleck, 2001a). 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 (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent
    crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand,
    some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual
    defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook
    et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the
    field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an
    extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19
    national surveys. The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret
    because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.”

    https://www.nap.edu/download/18319

  2. “I reject your cold, hard reality and will now embrace one of my own imagining!” said the anti-civil rights progressive.

  3. Criminals shooting other criminals should be treated as unlicensed pest control, rather than gun related violence. The violence would very likely still occur, using other means, if a firearm wasn’t available.

  4. Armed resistance against the criminals/wannabe criminals and those that lobby on their behalf for a disarmed populace and safer working conditions for miscreants. For all those that fear meeting someone with a firearm as they climb thru a window, or kick in a door, etc, around the witching hour, the Liberal Socialist Party has your back.

  5. Hmm. A well sourced, factually based article disproving antigun rhetoric… I have the strangest feeling we won’t be hearing from our friends the_resistance and 2ASux on this particular thread.

    • They’re going to be, uh, “tied up” for a few days giving each other a Dutch Windmill over LePen’s defeat to Macron.

    • “I have the strangest feeling we won’t be hearing from our friends the_resistance and 2ASux on this particular thread.”

      Quite the contrary.

      Upon reading the article, there were a number of potential avenues of approach regarding the unsuitability of the “research” to prove much of anything. However, after reading the commentaries, it appears many here are already pointing out the problem with trying to “prove” anything by relying on surveys. Indeed, the writer of the original posting notes several problems with the result. To borrow a phrase from the great state of Texas, “This ‘un is a dry hole, son.”

      • Well, good on you, at least you read the article. I would like to know your personal opinion on the fact that even politically liberal researchers with a history of antigun animus were still forced to conclude that there were more DGUs than homicides, if you are so inclined.

        • “I would like to know your personal opinion on the fact that even politically liberal researchers …were still forced to conclude that there were more DGUs than homicides.”

          Haven’t ignored you, but the Bob Owens notice yesterday was a bit of a stunner, and it seemed poor form to discuss anything other.

          To your query, I am skeptical of virtually all surveys, polls, pronouncements regarding whether the net effect of gunfire favors or disfavors the precept. The data is all too speculative and subject to biases in number too great to control for. No one can “prove” anything with any of the “research”. Too much “correlation equals causation” for me.

          My interest has always been in cutting negligent deaths to near zero (500+ per year is not near-zero), and the notion that mass shooting victims pay the price for unfettered gun possession (legal or not). But for the moment, let us agree that there are 20,000 lives saved through DGU. Just a figure for comparison, not a “statistic” of any sort. The argument would be that 20,000 people are alive today because they “defended” with a firearm. Now, let us turn to the number of deaths due to negligent gun handling, and mass shootings (pick your own rule for determining what constitutes a “mass shooting”). For this discussion, let me ask, “Are those 20,000 lives saved fair trade for 20 grammar school children? For 50 patrons of Pulse? For students at Virginia Tech? Do you say to families of the dead, “Well, that is just the cost of living in a free society where almost anyone can obtain a firearm.”? Do you just say, “There is no point, sense or value in attempting to implement sensible regulation that can actually reduce these incidents, because I have a natural, civil and human right to walk about with a gun on my hip…and so does every other free citizen.”? Do you refuse to even take part in discussions of what might effectively be done just because there is the possibility that somehow those steps will be bastardized into gun confiscation? Is there no successful accommodation to society at large you would tolerate? Is there no option to law of the jungle?

          20,000 “saved” lives seems a goodly number, but given 310,000,000 persons in the US, are not those incidents statistically insignificant? Compare those incidents (each representing a person victim of a crime) with all the other causes of death in the nation. If a person has a right to life, then all the threats to life should be addressed with equal aggrieved passion as spent on guns.

          One would think that a nation priding itself on intelligence, innovation, cleverness and brilliant minds should be able to reduce all the sources of death to near-zero. Especially “gun violence”. A nation can contemplate colonizing Mars, but cannot conceive of any means of successfully lowering “gun violence” to the rarity of Clouded Leopards?

        • First, i’m not sure if you are the same 2Asux that commented on here a while ago but you seem much more articulate and have better or more well thought out arguments than whoever used the name before.

          Second, if we 20,000 is statistically insignificant out of 310,000,000 how is around 500 out of the same number not almost 0?

          Third, how can someone tell the family of a victim that they don’t have the right to defend themselves no matter what others do?

        • First, i’m not sure if you are the same 2Asux that commented on here a while ago but you seem much more articulate and have better or more well thought out arguments than whoever used the name before.
          – – “Captain, it is I. Ensign Pulver.”
          – – – There were some episodes last year where someone used my name to create confusion. The ruse had me either taking the opposide position I originally presented, or made belligerent statements attributed to me. Subsequently, that person became “2Asuxsux” and continued ranting and raving.

          Second, if we 20,000 is statistically insignificant out of 310,000,000 how is around 500 out of the same number not almost 0?
          – – “The ~500” were killed by gun owner negligence; different consideration altogether. All the result of no training, poor training, forgotten training, or ignored training. At worst, callous disregard for the lives and safety of others. I see a loud segment shouting for common sense gun ownership, but I do not see the major pro-gun crowd filing petitions and briefs with the authorities or courts, supporting severe penalties for the negligent. The theme seems to be, “Well, life is hard, then you die.”

          Third, how can someone tell the family of a victim that they don’t have the right to defend themselves no matter what others do?
          – – This is where pro-gun people go off the rails, completely. Self-defense is viewed as achievable only through gunfire. Self-defense, and self-defense with a gun are not synonyms. (Please note, I have never written a single word that can be construed as denying a person the right of self-defense). The world is not binary. The constitutional rights of Americans are none of them absolute absolute, nor even absolute. I do agree, however, that the right to defend oneself against unprovoked attack. But circling back to my question, in a nation such as the US, why is it that a large portion of gun owners feel and believe that dead school children are just collateral damage of life in the greatest nation in the free world? Why are gun owners so unwilling to discuss any, any ideas (or generate one of their own) that might strike a proper balance between vigilance regarding who may posses a firearm, and absolutism? If it is a fear that somewhere, someone is mounting a drive to confiscate all guns, only active warfare against your fellow citizens and the central government has the slightest prayer of actually preventing confiscation. As to other encroachments on your constitutionally protected rights, I perceive from history that the founders of the US would go to war against gun owners today for allowing the nation to fall so far from its founding and original intent (like how I worked that phrase into the discussion?). The ship has sailed, the horse is out of the barn, that dog won’t hunt, you’re too far behind the power curve to ever recover, time marches on, society changes, (and, dare I say it?) “Resistance is futile.” I would think you (pro-gun advocates) have a chance to shape some of the future, but mindless refusal to discuss will not slow the tide.

          I do not favor universal gun confiscation. I do favor continually reviewing and reconsidering “normal”, when it comes to guns. It is curious, however, that many gun owners believe that by refusing to discuss any improvements to gun ownership, and personal responsibility, somehow prevent “corrupt politicians” from taking measures to create gun registries, gun ownership certifications, or full on confiscation. If your politicians are so untrustworthy, shouldn’t you replace them, wholesale? Your future is determined by political acts. If you cannot find politicians who will prevent erosion of your rights, then the day is already lost.

        • Thanks for your reply.

          I am typing this on my phone so it is a little more difficult to see and address everything in your comment so if I get something wrong or miss it completely please understand.

          From your writing style and they way you refer to the US it sounds like you are not originally from the US.

          The “dead children” argument tends to be used as an emotional response instead of a logical argument. So does the accidental deaths argument. If you look at the official records on deaths in which firearms were used accidents now count for a lower actual number of deaths than from before world war 2 despite a much larger overall population and a much larger overall number of gun owners.

          To say that gun owners in general are not willing to talk and come up with our own solutions is just not true. Gun owners and gun rights groups are some of the leading groups pushing training and safety programs.

          Are people killed with a gun more important than those killed by other means? How many people a year are killed by drunk drivers, second hand smoke, contamination caused by industry (and other means), industrial accidents, etc. are those people’s lives less important? If not why do gun control advocates not really talk about these things? The rate of people killed with a gun is much lower than most other types of non-natural death. If saving lives was the reason for restricting guns than why not focus on these other methods of death?

          There are many gov. officials both elected and not who only give lip service to the Constitution and really don’t care about it. These officials are on both sides of the political spectrum and in all parties that are currently involved in our gov. It will take a lot of work to replace them but not impossible.

        • Sorry for the delay. Planning for new rallies and events takes a toll.

          “The “dead children” argument tends to be used as an emotional response instead of a logical argument. So does the accidental deaths argument. ”
          – Not emotional arguments. The dead are not to be discarded as so much waste material. Cannot understand, nor entertain any concept that relegates deaths of innocents to so much detritus in pursuit of a deadly pastime. People are not dry statistics.

          To say that gun owners in general are not willing to talk and come up with our own solutions is just not true. Gun owners and gun rights groups are some of the leading groups pushing training and safety programs.
          – I have read of some of the efforts you mention. What I do not see is a mass push for establishing any sort of professional certification (such as CPA, MD, DDS, EMT, SQA or SQE. It is astounding that groups of like minded people unrelated to guns voluntarily agree to a provable set of professional standards, but gun owners want no part of any measurable, sustainable professional standards. There is uniformly no tolerance by gun owners of any sort of organized, widespread and recognized professional program related to publicly identifying gun owners as skilled practitioners. I should think a professional certification as a gun owner would be a badge of honor to be envied.

          Are people killed with a gun more important than those killed by other means? How many people a year are killed by drunk drivers, second hand smoke, contamination caused by industry (and other means), industrial accidents, etc. are those people’s lives less important? If not why do gun control advocates not really talk about these things?
          – Afraid this is merely an attempt to deflect attention. We are discussing firearms in this forum. “They are worse than me.” is rather sophomoric. Are you really comfortable believing that unless and until every other risk to life and limb is reduced to zero, gun owners should be “left alone” when it comes to recommending, investigating and implementing improvements to the proficiency and safety of guns? This is perhaps the single issue that keeps gun owners from making guns “normal” in society, yet gun owners abandon the point to us.

          There are many gov. officials both elected and not who only give lip service to the Constitution and really don’t care about it.
          – Perhaps some of us believe the Constitution can be improved upon, but it looks like we do not care a fig about the Constitution.

          One might conclude I am, what is it ?….a one trick pony. For the time being that probably is so. Pushing for sensible solutions in an effort to mop up the perception that gun owners are crazy seems worthwhile. My prized goal, should you ask, is to remove all the complaints about legal gun owners, and shine a large, bright light on the insanity of refusing to acknowledge and address the rather terrifying growth of illegal gun owners and users. Legal gun owners are not the cause of all the shootings in the inner cities, but so long as legal gun owners refuse to listen to any discussion about improved gun handling and ownership, everyone can ignore the slaughter by gangs and drug dealers.

        • Nothing wrong with being a one trick pony many of us (my self included) have difficulty focusing on multiple projects at once (this is not intended as a slight or have any negative conintation against you).

          The certifications you mentioned don’t apply to normal everyday people. A better comparison would be with gun instructors which does have a few different professional certifications available.

          The reason I mentioned the other forms of death is to bring up that there seems to be a discrepancy in the amount of money and effort put into restricting and regulating guns as opposed to other things that cause a much higher rate of death (primarily accidental in this context). A more specific example would be non-boating related drownings. There is an avg. of around 10 per day of which 20% are children. If these other forms of accidental deaths were treated similarly to gun deaths I would think we’d hear as much or more about them on a national basis.

          I believe there many of your average citizens do care about the Constitution mostly just have a different view about how it looks. I’m sure there are ways to improve the Constitution and there are a couple methods to do that but I never really hear anyone bring that up and accurately try to do it.

        • Seems we two are the only ones left interested in this discussion. Thank you for civil discourse.

          At to your last comments:
          “The certifications you mentioned don’t apply to normal everyday people. A better comparison would be with gun instructors which does have a few different professional certifications available.”

          – Yes, they are ordinary people share skills, or an interest in those skills. Why is there no commission of all the named gun industry (names “everyone” would recognize) meeting to establish a voluntary set of competencies for all gun owners, with formal training and certification, with serious publicity encouraging all to participate as a means of providing the public with a badge of honor saying “these gun owners are elite, accept serious responsibility, and are serious about honing and maintaining proficiency and safety skills?

          “The reason I mentioned the other forms of death is to bring up that there seems to be a discrepancy in the amount of money and effort put into restricting and regulating guns as opposed to other things that cause a much higher rate of death (primarily accidental in this context). A more specific example would be non-boating related drownings. There is an avg. of around 10 per day of which 20% are children. If these other forms of accidental deaths were treated similarly to gun deaths I would think we’d hear as much or more about them on a national basis.”

          – Are you unaware of the billions spent around the world on product safety improvement? In the US, auto deaths remain a consistent ~30,000 per year, while the population continues to rise. Thirty thousand is not statistically insignificant, but given the population, safety improvements could be said to be effective. And so it is with all the other risks. Not knowing what you read routinely, it is possible you have no knowledge of the attention, and money, flowing into research and solutions for all those other risks you think should be zeroed-out before any serious conversation on making gun owners more aware, more safe, more concerned about the public.

          I believe there many of your average citizens do care about the Constitution mostly just have a different view about how it looks. I’m sure there are ways to improve the Constitution and there are a couple methods to do that but I never really hear anyone bring that up and accurately try to do it.

          – This constitutional thing really is a problem for both sides of the equation. Legislation is swifter than amendments. Sometimes only a small majority of a group or populace understand the need for new thinking, new solutions, new ideas, new awareness of how intertwined we all are. Sometimes, the need is so urgent, so compelling that the ancient methods of progress or change are inadequate to the task.

        • I like to think I’m well versed in a broad variety of subjects and have been involved with industrial safety programs and training, as well as a few other safety related things. I have also been involved with the education sector and IT. I have also traveled and lived outside the US in places that have some of the strictest gun control measures in the world. I hope that gives you a bit better understanding of my background.

          I think the industry getting together to create some kind of professional certificate is not a bad idea in and of itself but the problem I see with that is with all of the hacking and computer breaches recently I and many (most?) Other gun owners are leary of letting anyone compile a list of us (I think there might be someways around having any personal info linked in a database and to me that would be much more acceptable).

          If anything requires a constitutional change it should not be convenient or fast. Our constitution is not perfect but all things considered it was well written and any changes should be well considered. Fast legislation is not a good answer for fixing the constitution.

          I like civil conversations more than debates. I don’t try to change people’s opinions I just try to get information flowing. I also think as soon as we say something is beyond debate (or that our opinion is the only right one) we have lowered any credibility we had.

  6. I have provided an excellent (in my humble opinion) estimate in previous posts based on the CONCRETE number of justifiable homicides that the FBI reports.

    Here is a quick recap of that analysis with fairly decent approximate numbers (I don’t have the time right now to look up the exact numbers).

    The numbers:
    — annual non-police justifiable homicides: 400
    — percent of gunshot wounds that are fatal: 20%
    — percent of armed victims who decide to shoot: 5%
    — percent of armed victims who put bullets in their attackers when they decide to shoot: 30%

    Using these numbers, we can estimate a minimum number of times that victims had a firearm and used it to defend themselves:
    (all armed defensive events) x (percent of victims who decide to shoot) x (percent of hits) x (percent of fatal gunshot wounds) = 400

    Solving for all armed defensive events:
    all armed defensive events = 400 / (all three percentages)
    all armed defensive events = 400 / (0.2 x 0.05 x 0.3)
    all armed defensive events = 400 / 0.003
    all armed defensive events = 133,333 (annually)

    Note that this is an absolute minimum number. All victims who used righteous self-defense and were wrongfully prosecuted for murder anyway will increase that number. And all dead bodies which are found and never attributed to the FBI’s annual justifiable homicide tally will increase that number.

    This is a very reliable number that gets us a pretty accurate estimate because dead bodies are tabulated with an extremely high level of accuracy and gunshot mortality rates are well known. Even civilian hit rate (how often victims put one or more bullets on target) is fairly well established.

    The only percentage that anyone can argue is significantly inaccurate is how often an armed victim decides to pull the trigger. And even that number has to be reasonably accurate since victims usually do not pull the trigger.

    • A good formula and reasonable estimate your logic is sound. Good to meet a fellow numbers guy on TTAG. I try to be a rational skeptic and follow where the evidence leads whether I like it or not, and in every single case I have been able to find no evidence suggesting high gun ownership leads to high violent crime rates. If anything all the data I have yet seen shows a strong correlation between increased gun restrictions and increased violent crime rates, though there are too many variables to determine causation.

    • Interesting approach. I like seeing a different way of analyzing data. I’m going to chew on your analysis a bit but no challenge to your thoughts comes to mind.

    • I think your gun shot fatality rate may be a bit high. From what I’ve read, fatalities are 1 in 7 or 1 in 8 of all gunshot victims (12.5 to 14.3%).

      • “…fatalities are 1 in 7 or 1 in 8 of all gunshot victims (12.5 to 14.3%)”

        Practice, people, practice! Force on force training is your friend.

      • Mark N.,

        If the gunshot wound mortality rate is even lower than the 20% that I provided, that means even more annual events where an armed person defended themselves.

        • “If the gunshot wound mortality rate is even lower than the 20% that I provided, that means even more annual events where an armed person defended themselves.”

          Not quite following you here.

        • The calculation of annual events where the defender used a firearm has the gunshot-wound mortality rate in the denominator. If one of the numbers in the denominator gets smaller (dividing a whole number by an even smaller number), then the result gets larger.

          For example:
          24 / 8 == 3

          If we make the denominator even smaller:
          24 / 6 == 4

          Thus, when the denominator gets smaller, the result gets larger.

    • This is the approach I use although I am a bit more conservative. My factors are 15% fatality rate, 25% hit rate given an actual trigger pull and 10% engagement rate. I use 250 deaths a year. That yields a minimum of 65k DGU a year. If 5% of the attacks averted saved someone’s life that yields about 3500 lives saved a year. You also save a much higher number of people from bodily harm which the antis never acknowledge. However. As I note below you can only say a particular life was saved and not lives in general.

      • tdiinva,

        Oh, I did not think to include a factor for how many of the annual armed defensive events saved the life of the victim. While I believe my number of annual armed defensive events is pretty accurate, not all of those defensive events would have resulted in the death of the victim had they been unarmed.

        I suspect that your 5% number (how often an attacker would have killed their victim if the victim had been unarmed) is in the right ballpark.

  7. “Antis prefer their own “reality.”” The condensed version of the article above. This is our reality. Nothing else said in the article will EVER matter. (God, I hope I’m wrong on this!)

  8. Your NCVS analysis is very good and you are probably right that it undercounts DGUs, but it is the most reliable.
    Please don’t quote Kleck, who has been discredited long ago when he could not produce the FBI data and claimed that his computer crashed while the FBI said they never provided him with data. Kleck is in the same category as the anti/gunner Kellerman who came up with the 43 times fallacy but showed that the numbers to back that up were not actual, but extrapolated by Kellerman.

      • Where did you see anything personal? My whole comment dealt with data integrity. Kleck’s source is questionable; NCVS is reliable even if it probably undercounts DGUs. Arguments are best made with reliable data which still yields more DGUs than malevolent actions.

  9. One issue I have on first look of the article is the study cited. Not calling out any bias or other possible problem with the study it is still over 20 years old. In that 20 years the amount of crime has dropped drastically across the board. The percentages might still be similar but the number probably are not.

  10. Allegedly, the famous New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once observed, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Projecting Yogi’s theorem, extrapolating based on limited data does not provide certitude, or even comfort. Extrapolation, regardless of the source requires all of the assumptions and variables used in the extrapolation to remain constant, and be the entire array of possible conditions. Thus, any calculation of “lives saved” by defensive gun use should, maybe must, be accompanied by an introductory statement, “If we are absolutely correct in constructing our model, then……”. Otherwise, we must accept that any assertion by POTG about lives saved is no more valid than what we consider baseless predictions and extrapolations done by the anti-gun cabal.

    One of the complaints in the article is the use of indirect questioning versus direct inquiry. To wit, the interviewer did not mention “gun”. If I understand population surveys, it is poor form to structure questions that favor a particular response.

    The most important consideration in all this statistical fantalyzing is being overlooked. Contests over statistics presumes a single underlying principle…the utility of having a gun at hand. That means POTG are willing to engage the anti-gun people on the question of usefulness of “gun rights”. The Second Amendment might have been founded on the basis of the NEED for protection from tyranny, but the amendment itself, having been established, does not require constant defense of the amendment based on NEED. All the number crunching is pointless, and a huge distraction. I do not know if I will ever NEED to have a gun at hand. Because I do not know, the choice to have one is neither right, nor wrong. It is simply a choice made to provide opportunity for saving my life IF a deadly attack evinces. I do not NEED to have a need.

  11. Bruce W. Krafft,

    The numbers from the Kleck/Gertz study are worthless.

    I am looking homicide statistics for 1994, the year of the Kleck/Gertz study. I have found an FBI study that lists 23,326 cases “Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter”. Other studies I have seen quote smaller numbers. What percentage of Americans were armed and ready to defend themselves at the time of the attack? I would guess way less than half. The number of Americans who pulled out guns and prevented homicides should be very much less than 20,000.

    I actually have read the survey. 15.7% estimated that they “almost certainly” would have been killed if they had not resisted with a gun. Another 14.2% said “probably” and 16.2% said they “might have” been killed. The standard claim about Kleck/Gertz is that it indicates that 2.5M Americans defended themselves using guns. I figure that a conservative estimate is all the unarmed “almost certainlys” die, and half the “probablys”. Everyone else survives. That is a fatality rate of 22%. Multiply this by 2.5M, you get 550,000 people who would have been murdered in 1994 had they not been armed. This number has no connection to reality. The probable error is way over an order of magnitude, and probably over two. The numbers are not even a ballpark estimate. Youi cannot use them.

    What happened? The Kleck/Gertz data are based on positive responses form 5% of their respondents. They were asked if they had defended themselves with a gun from a human any time in the last five years. If I run a phone survey and ask questions about a controversial topic, what percentage of people are sane, and will answer my questions truthfully. Consider that a lot of respondents overestimated their own innocent conduct, and grossly exaggerated the danger they were in.

    • It is impossible to estimate the actual number of DGUs because you don’t know how many “bump in the night” DGUs that don’t result in shots fired are false alarms or undetected instances of actions deterred.

      Case in point. I was taking care of my son’s dogs and they started making a ruckus and headed for the front door. I drew my gun and took a defensive position. If surveyed I might have clasdified it as a possible DGU but were the dogs reacting to an animal, a person or just being dogs? And if it really was an intruder did he decide that he would rather not mess with the dogs since he had no idea I was waiting for him on the other side of the door.

  12. Unless the attacker is killed or wounded and apprehended, or decides to choose a more honest line of work after the experience all we can say is that a particular life was saved but not lives in general. If the attacker lives to fight another day he may kill his next victim.

  13. Assuming the s/he was close enough with their knife when demanding your wallet—and reaching to get a pre-draw grip suggests they are—then you were the victim of at least one criminal offense:

    1. Assault – the offender put you in reasonable fear of a harmful or offensive touching of your person.

    2. Attempted robbery – the offender using force, or the threat of force, to try to take your personal property from you.

    There may be others. And these are the offenses at common law. Under the criminal statutes in each state the names and details at the margins will change, and the offenses may be graver with greater penalties—i.e., aggravated assault, armed robbery, because of the knife—but the essential components of each offense will be similar.

    This issue comes up often with answers and remarks that miss the mark. A victim defends themself with words, acts, arms, etc., foiling a robbery or burglary (it’s usually robbery or burglary, but could be another offense too). And they conclude the offender’s lack of success means there was no offense. They overlook the attempted offense that they were the victim of.

    That lack of recognition may cause under-reporting of offenses and the defenses that repelled them. (That’s not to overlook other reasons for under-reporting (e.g., victims who don’t want the hassle of reporting a foiled attempt, who don’t report because of a reluctance to come in contact with law enforcement).)

  14. Annnnnd….Our resident troll “The Resistance” is nowhere to be found in this discussion….wonder why? (Sarc)

  15. One thing, it strikes me, should be kept in mind, that being the following. Facts notwithstanding, anti gun types are, sad to note, often beyond being reached or impacted by factual material. Their minds are made up before anything is said, before any data is presented. It’s akin to talking to a brick wall.

  16. The above information is only relevant in making an argument when supposing that citizen disarmament is being forced for citizen safety. Oppressive regimes disarm their citizens for THEIR OWN safety and ability to CONTROL. They do not care if guns are/were used for good people to righteously defend themselves. Each citizen in the masses of citizens is EXPENDABLE. Ease of control and the inability of the citizenry to resist the government is the goal. They don’t care if we are all helpless in a sea of violence. THEY will always have armed security.

    • If I’ a private citizen, without “connections and millions” had pulled half the crap Bloomberg has pulled, I would have been up to my eyeteeth in snarling ATF types, yet Bloomberg runs free as the proverbial bird. Allow me a dumb question. How come this dichotomy, or is the answer obvious, to obvious for words, as the vocals go?

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