Letters to the Editor

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GUNS: Firearms prevent millions of crimes

Letter by Duane K. Wolcot, Fox Island on Feb. 14, 2011 at 10:41 am with 15 Comments »
February 14, 2011 12:01 pm

The Sunday Doonesbury cartoon (propaganda) was somewhat incomplete. Indeed, over a nine-year period, 270,000 Americans died from firearms use. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Until, that is, you consider that over the same time frame, 22.5 million crimes were averted through the use of civilian-owned firearms, most without death or injury to anyone.

The above defensive-use statistic comes from the most thorough (and un-biased) such study, done by criminologist Dr. Gary Kleck. Thirteen other studies show similar ratios of defensive usage to criminal/suicide/accident usage. A couple of other studies show lower numbers, but these are seriously flawed. Nonetheless, they are the “most-quoted” studies.

Indeed, two anti-gun academics (Jens Ludwig and Philip Cook) attempted to debunk Kleck’s number, and they found an even higher ratio. They spent the rest of their paper debunking their own data.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. hey.. cite your sources.. no just ‘some studies’
    Daddy got a new gun and all i got was a sucking chest wound.

  2. Sue – come here sweetie, let me help you…

    Their is this thing call the internet, Al Gore created it, maybe you heard of him.

    Anyway, if you take the various authors name and put them in Yahoo! as an example you will find many “sources” and even the “study” itself. (Pssst – ignore the link that has iamstud.com in it, I click on it and lost my lunch… just some brotherly advice…)

    Good luck, have fun and be careful on the internet. You know how icky it can be.

    Love ya, Me

  3. JudasEscargot says:

    100% of deaths by gun are caused by a gun.

  4. “100% of deaths by gun are caused by a gun.”

    Judas – this is an intervention – are you not at least slightly embarrass by some of your postings. This one would be an example. Just trying to help buddy.

    Now, would you like to try again?

    I am here to help. :)

  5. Traitor-snail gaffes – “100% of deaths by gun are caused by a gun.

    As if the doggone thing’s got a mind of its own….cain’t take it anywhar.

    100% of screwdriver deaths are caused by screwdrivers…however…
    the high-capacity slotted type is more dangerous because unlike the phillips-head which has a larger frontal mass at impact, the slotted -head has a narrower frontal profile enabling further penetration at the same relative velocity.

    But don’t worry, Betrayer, neither the screwdriver nor the firearm is capable of self determination….much less aiming.

  6. penumbrage says:

    Almost 100% of deaths by gun are caused by bullets (I presume a few die from severe pistol whippings) and while I mourn the innocent victims of murderers and accidents, the fact remains that civilians are responsible for more justified homicides than police. I hate to sound cold and callous but I have to say thank goodness for many of those deaths and the innocent lives they’ve saved, the pain and suffering they’ve prevented, the future victims they’ve spared and thank our Bill of Rights for giving us the option not to be victims.
    I hear Julie Nicholson is the latest grateful citizen spared injury or death by one of our 260,000 concealed firearms.

  7. JudasEscargot says:

    rr – you did help.

    You demonstrated that, every once in awhile, a Conservative can see sarcasm.

    No….wait….you didn’t.

  8. pazzo242 says:

    “You demonstrated that, every once in awhile, a Conservative can see sarcasm. No….wait….you didn’t.”

    Judas–you are only saying that because you got caught in one of your ridiculous statements, once again.

    I love your comments because you have this great ability to make liberals continue to look stupid—no sarcasm intended.

  9. Just for you Judas, as you scuttled away when I addressed homicidal commentary from the left on another thread.

    I read this online this morning, posted on a blog praising Jimmy Carter! (That’s right, I said “praising Jimmy Carter.”)

    About George W. Bush: “The sooner he is dead and in the ground, the better off the world will be.”

    It concerns me a bit because I’m afraid it might provoke a shooting. What do you think?

    Lars, love the screwdriver analogy.

  10. Judas… my man

    larsman, penumbrage, pazzo242 and now sozo have responded to you also but yet you single me out…

    does tht mean what I think it means… are we VB….

    you know, Virtual Buddies??? ;)

  11. I hear the faint sound of scuttling.

  12. aye, aye sir, all quiet on the western front…

    You know I have to admit I was expecting the gun control nuts would come out of the wood work and would blast the standard gun control freak rhetoric.

    Maybe they took my advice to sue1234, actually read the study and realized “I got nothing”

    There is hope – RTFS

  13. This letter is yet another gun-nut bit of nonsense using Mr. Kleck’s highly disputed “studies and conclusions.”
    Researchers studied newspaper, police, and court reports of gun use over a 14-week period in the Phoenix metropolitan area to determine if the results conformed to high or low estimates of annual self-defensive gun use. The researchers found that the results conformed much more to the lower estimate than to the high estimate often quoted by gun rights enthusiasts.

    During the study period, newspapers reported 62 gun incidents including 43 people killed with a gun, 29 who were wounded, and 9 who fired a gun.

    Two of the cases involved the defensive use of the gun. (Although the 2 cases of defensive use were not clear-cut, involving either mutual combat or firing a gun in a socially irresponsible manner.) The study did not count defensive uses that would not be reported in the paper, such as someone drawing a gun to frighten someone.

    The rest of the cases involved a range of destructive uses of guns: suicide, domestic violence, accidents, road rage, arguments or fights, gang activity, robbery, shooting at police, or motive unknown. Some cases involved use of the gun as part of an occupation.

    Gary Kleck’s estimate of 2.5 million defensive gun uses would’ve predicted 98 defensive killings or woundings and 236 firings over the same period, a number far higher than found in this study.

    This study reinforces other studies finding that the defensive use of guns appears to be far outnumbered by the destructive uses of guns and that Kleck’s estimate of 2.5 million self-defensive gun uses is a vast overestimate. The study offers detailed accounts of claims of self-defensive gun uses that were later determined to be murder, aggravated assault, or disorderly conduct.


    Denton, JF, and WV Fabricius, “Reality Check: Using Newspapers, Police Reports, and Court Records to Assess Defensive Gun Use,” Injury Prevention 10 2004:96-98

  14. Let’s see, 22,500,000 defensive uses divided by 270,000 deaths equals 83.3 defensive uses per death; that’s if you buy the defensive use number, and many researchers do not. So a life, in the eyes of the gun nuts, is worth 83.3 defensive uses at best. That at least sounds like the justification.
    The actual number of defensive uses is probably a lot smaller from what I have read which means a life is a lot cheaper according to the gun nuts.
    I wonder how many gun nuts are anti-choice.

  15. penumbrage says:

    Publico – ‘The study did not count defensive uses that would not be reported in the paper, such as someone drawing a gun to frighten someone.’

    I can understand how someone might substantially under-report defensive gun uses when they exclude drawing or showing a firearm – the single most common defensive use that exists.
    If you want a fair comparison between guns and no guns you have to include scaring a lethal threat off in addition to shooting them, and and you would also have to factor in all the suspicious jacket bulges, heavy purses, NRA logos, alert situational awareness and confident non-victim behavior that have kept thousands trained in firearms from ever being picked as victims in the first place.
    The Keck estimate agrees with the National Self-Defense Survey and the Clinton sponsored Cook-Ludwig survey, but Keck’s methodology was the most complete of any of the 13 surveys I’ve seen referenced.
    Amusing numbers, the actual math is about 2.5 million defensive uses divided by about 15,000 (firearms deaths minus suicide and justifiable homicide) which shows about 167 people preventing a murder, rape, assault or robbery with a firearm for every one murdered by a firearm.
    Your ideal ratio would be zero violent crimes prevented for every murder?

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