Guns Are Used For Self Defense

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Guns are used for Self-Defense less than 1% of the time Looking at data from 1992 through 2005 and 2007 through 2011, there were over 192 million violent crimes committed in the United States during this 17 year period. Of those crimes, the victims chose to use a gun as a self-defensive measure to threaten or attack their offender over 1.3 million times. Over this 17 year time period, a gun was used as a form of self-defense to threaten or attack an offender 0.7% of the time. Of those 0.7% that used a gun, 0.3% resulted in a justifiable homicide of the offender. The idea of using a gun for self-defense is a pervasive one. The often cited number is that Americans use a gun as a defensive or self-protection measure 2.2 to 2.5 million times per year (Kleck and Gertz, 1995). However, this number and other high estimates have been scrutinized for their validity. The Cato Institute’s report Tough Targets (Cramer and Burnett, 2012), a pro-gun study, even acknowledges that some studies exaggerate the use of guns to the point of statistical impossibility. They also mention underreporting, including the datasets used to produce the numbers you see here (their study produces no numerical rates of gun use for self-defense). If the 2.5 million number were true, that would mean close to 1 in 4 people would have actively used a gun for a self-defense. Does that seem plausible? Given the sampling techniques, assumptions made, and weighting of the data, the numbers 0.7% and 0.3% are

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