In a report entitled “Firearm Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use,” the VPC argues that “guns are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes.” The anti-gun thinktank seems determined to dismantle the gun lobby’s self-defense argument—namely, that “firearms are used in self-defense 2.5 million times a year.”
The report notes that “in 2012, there were only 259 justifiable homicides involving a gun,” and from 2008 through 2012, “there were only 1,108 justifiable homicides involving a gun.”
If anything, this statistic proves that fewer homicides might happen if more people were armed. My heart goes out to the innocent victims of criminal gun homicides who did not have a way to defend themselves in the face of violence.
This statistic also doesn’t take into account the fact that many criminals are not stupid. If their victim whips out a gun, they’re going to do one of two things—shoot or run away. And if they’re caught off-guard, chances are they’re going to run like hell.
Moreover, what about those criminals who are not dealt a fatal blow in self-defense, but are injured instead? Some victims may not want to kill their attacker, but rather disarm them until the police show up, especially in states where self-defense laws are not as favorable. It’s also natural that some victims might lack accuracy due to fear or inexperience.
Interestingly enough, these not-so-minor details are completely ignored by the authors.
The report goes on to say that, “for the five-year period 2007 through 2011, in only 0.8 percent of these instances had the intended victim in resistance to a criminal ‘threatened or attacked with a firearm.’”
Again, this easily proves that most victims of violent crime do not have easy access to a gun. Most likely, these victims are not armed at all, or they are simply caught without their gun during an attack. The latter case could actually be attributed to anti-concealed carry laws.
The report uses a similar statistic about property crime that highlights an even slimmer use of gun violence by the victim. This is unsurprising, and likewise does nothing to undermine the necessity of guns for self-defense.
Common sense would suggest that a thief is more likely to run away from an armed victim than a violent criminal, thus eliminating the need to kill or injure the criminal. So if the gun isn’t fired, why would the gun owner be inclined to report its exposure in a police report? As a result, a large number of successful self-defense victories are left unreported to the authorities.
Neglecting all reason, the report smugly concludes: “When analyzing the most reliable data available, what is most striking is that in a nation of more than 300 million guns, how rarely firearms are used in self-defense.”
Wrong. What is “most striking” is how the VPC has twisted statistics to demonize the use of guns for self-defense, and fail to offer an alternative. Sure, many gun owners own multiple guns, but so what? It seems pretty obvious that the person who brags about his gun collection and sports an NRA bumper sticker on his car is less likely to be targeted, and those without a gun are more likely to be targeted.
The reality is that guns level the playing field and are the most effective means to stop a crime while it’s happening. People who would otherwise be defenseless have a way to fight back against victimization.
Without this tool, we are all victims in a violent world.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.