Help Wanted: Cato Institute’s Interactive DGU Map Is A Work In Progress

Being a gun person requires (or at least implies) some level of understanding that there is only so much that any government can do for you, and that in many instances the best thing it can do for everyone is get out of their way.

This ethic comes quite naturally to the libertarian Cato Institute. In addition to a vast and well-researched archive of treatises and policy papers on gun rights, self-defense and the 2nd Amendment, they’ve posted this nifty interactive map showing (some of the) defensive gun uses in the United States.

While Kleck and Gertz have estimated upwards of 600,000 DGUs per year in the United States, the Cato map only shows a smattering of them. And this is where they could use some help.

If you’ve got the time and the inclination, the bottom of the page has a submission section for adding more DGUs to the map. If even 1% of actual DGUs were included in the Cato map, our republic would be covered with them.

Except for NY, CA, NJ and DC, of course, because there are no guns and no gun crime there, and thus no need for DGUs.


  1. avatar Bill says:

    I think this is a very good idea! Hope many will contribute input for more data to help it become more complete.

  2. avatar Cammy says:

    Hmmm nothing in Maine yet. Just submitted this one to get them started…

  3. avatar Aharon says:

    “While Kleck and Gertz have estimated upwards of 600,000 DGUs per year in the United States”

    Thanks for posting that statistic, I have read elsewhere the figure of DGU (simply the presence of a gun to stop a crime in progress or from starting) was anywhere from one to two million times annually.

  4. Good timing with this one, Chris. There’s a new subreddit, r/dgu that catalogs defensive gun use incidents in the US. Looks like I’m going to be busier.

  5. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Nice thanks for the link…

  6. avatar Biofire says:

    Hi, this is my first post here. I just wanted to correct something. I just re-read the article and I see where you got the 600,000 number. The real estimate truly is between 2.1-2.5 million as they suggest. In Kleck and Cates book “Armed”, they don’t hold back on asserting that number and provide a more detailed discussion of the statistics and methodology involved. As they say, even this number is probably an underestimate since it didn’t include adolescents (and for additional reasons), which are the demographic with the highest number of gun incidents. This means that guns are used 4-5 times as often in defense as they are to commit a crime (assuming a stable ~500,000 crimes involving guns per year).

  7. avatar jkp says:

    “Except for NY, CA, NJ and DC,”

    Au contraire! How quickly we forget Carl Rowan!

  8. avatar Brutus says:

    DGU stats are not reported often or well. Chris – do you have a contact at the Cato institute you can possibly forward? I have some ideas to improve this, and have many years of web development experience.

    Thanks for posting.

  9. avatar Stoutcat says:

    Just go through back issues of the NRA magazine, First Freedom, and look for the Armed Citizen columns. That’ll put plenty of DGUs on the map.

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