Study Shows Gun Owners Rarely Use Guns For Self Defense

Victoria Kezra
Many pro-gun advocates claim that guns are an important tool for self defense, but a new report shows that for many shooting homicides that isn't the case.

A new report was released by the Violence Policy Center this month that found that gun owners rarely use guns in self-defense.

The Violence Policy Center is a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control. They analyzed FBI and federal government data on killings resulting from gunshots and their findings were grim.

Many proponents of guns and lose gun restrictions will use the argument that guns are necessary for protection, but the Violence Policy Center saw that it was rare for people to use them for that purpose.

Violence Policy Center

The report found that in 2012, there were only 259 “justifiable homicides.” In this case, that means the killing of a felon, who in the process of committing a felony. The total number of gun homicides was 8,342. The report did not take suicides and accidental deaths into account. That means that only 3% of all purposeful gun killings in 2012; only 3% of them were in self-defense against a criminal.

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Of the people who were killed in a justifiable homicide, 98.1% were male and of the people shooting in these cases 91.5% of shooters were also male.

Pro-gun associations such as the NRA like to claim that guns are “used up to 2.5 million times a year in self-defense in the United States.” The report concludes that 2.5 million incidents of self-defense gun use is a “vast overestimate.”

All in all, using police and government information, the study made it clear that only 3% of all gun killings in the U.S. in 2012 were against a criminal committing a crime. That’s a far cry from what most gun advocates say and proves that for the most part, gun owners don’t use guns for self defense. 

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Banner photo credit: Reuters