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.