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Rotting At The Center

Rotting At The Center

The Violence Policy Center recently came out with another of its infamous “studies,” this time allegedly “proving”—by comparing criminal homicides to justifiable homicides—that guns do more harm than good. And again, the group’s so-called “research” falls short.

It’s no secret why the VPC uses justifiable homicides in their numbers, as most defensive gun uses don’t involve an attacker/criminal being killed, rendering the entire premise of the study meaningless. And while not a scientific survey, we can easily prove that point anecdotally. 

Every day, Americas1stFreedom.org publishes at least one story, from the half-dozen or so we find on the national newswire, of an armed American defending him or herself with a gun. In fact, the NRA has been republishing those reports in some form since 1954, because they rarely receive much attention in the so-called “mainstream” media.

Each month America’s 1st Freedom publishes six to eight “Armed Citizen” stories. A quick look at these stories that occurred during 2012—the same year as VPC’s “statistics”—is quite eye-opening.

From our March 2012 issue through our March 2013 issue, we published 85 such stories, gleaned from many, many more that weren’t published due to space considerations. All involved defensive gun use—the factor VPC claims to measure but actually does not.

Of our 85 published events, 23 resulted in the death of the attacker/criminal. The highest number, 30, resulted in the attacker/criminal being injured but not killed. Another 27 involved events in which no shots were ever fired by the citizen, while five others involved shots being fired and nobody being hit. So out of the 85 incidents, 62 didn’t involve anyone being killed.

Do our “results” prove that guns are used more often for self-defense than murder? We don’t need to: Florida State University professor Gary Kleck showed back in 1993 that there were as many as 2.5 million defensive gun uses each year in the United States. A year later, the U.S. Department of Justice sponsored a study—“Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms”—that estimated 1.5 million defensive gun uses annually. 

What we do show is that for stories we reported on from 2012, far more self-defense episodes involved a different outcome than the attacker/criminal being killed in a shooting ruled a justifiable homicide. In doing so, we prove conclusively that VPC once again cherry-picked numbers to try to “prove” that defensive firearms uses seldom occur—which is simply not true.