Study Doesn’t Ask About Defensive Gun Use, Concludes It Rarely Happens

posted on September 9, 2015

A study appearing in the newest issue of Preventive Medicine concludes that while owning a gun is a good way to cut down on loss of property, it “is not associated with a reduced risk of victim injury.” But as this highly illuminating blog post by Jacob Sullum illustrates, this finding is a product of skewed experiment design. The researchers rely on data gathered by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which is widely regarded as providing misleadingly low numbers for occurrences of defensive gun use. 

Sullum also notes that “the survey includes ‘no specific questions about self-defense gun use.’ That’s a pretty big flaw for a study aimed at measuring self-defense gun use, which the NCVS isn’t.” It may be instructive to note that one of the authors of this study is David Hemenway, who co-authored the recent article on police deaths that John Lott so effectively ripped to shreds.

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