Is The NRA Wrong? New Study Shows Guns Rarely Used For Self-Defense

IBT’s Political Capital, By Clark Mindock, April 21

Personal safety is one of the most-cited reasons to buy a gun. But a new study challenges the assumption that firearms are often used for self defense.

The Violence Policy Center found that a very small proportion of firearm homicides can be attributed to so-called justifiable situations. Just one gun death per every 32 criminal gun killings happened in self-defense scenarios in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. And, while gun advocates argue that they want a firearm handy in their house in case of an intruder, just 0.1 percent of the justified attacks involved property crimes.


Of the 8,601 total homicides recorded in 2012, just 259 of those deaths were the result of a self-defense scenario, according to the study. There were 13 states in which zero justifiable firearm deaths were logged that year. That no-deaths list included states with relatively strict gun control laws as well as states where firearms are more easily accessible. From New York and New Jersey, with tighter regulation, to Idaho and Montana, known for their love of hunting and opposition to gun control, firearms don’t appear to be used with any real frequency to save one’s self or family, according to the study.

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