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The ProGuns

Every 13 seconds
an American gun owner uses a firearm
in defense against a criminal.

Criminal Attacks Stopped By Guns This Year:

Criminal Attacks Stopped By Guns Since 2000:


Among 15.7% of gun defenders interviewed nationwide during The National Self Defense Survey conducted by Florida State University criminologists in 1994, the defender believed that someone "almost certainly" would have died had the gun not been used for protection -- a life saved by a privately held gun about once every 1.3 minutes. (In another 14.2% cases, the defender believed someone "probably" would have died if the gun hadn't been used in defense.)

In 83.5% of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first -- disproving the myth that having a gun available for defense wouldn't make any difference.

In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn't be called "newsworthy" by newspaper or TV news editors). In 64.2% of these gun-defense cases, the police learned of the defense, which means that the media could also find out and report on them if they chose to.

In 73.4% of these gun-defense incidents, the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim. (Defenses against a family member or intimate were rare -- well under 10%.) This disproves the myth that a gun kept for defense will most likely be used against a family member or someone you love.

In over half of these gun defense incidents, the defender was facing two or more attackers -- and three or more attackers in over a quarter of these cases. (No means of defense other than a firearm -- martial arts, pepper spray, or stun guns -- gives a potential victim a decent chance of getting away uninjured when facing multiple attackers.)

In 79.7% of these gun defenses, the defender used a concealable handgun. A quarter of the gun defenses occurred in places away from the defender's home.

Source: "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun," by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Volume 86, Number 1, Fall, 1995

Marvin Wolfgang, the late Director of the Sellin Center for Studies in Criminology and Criminal Law at the University of Pennsylvania, considered by many to be the foremost criminologist in the country, wrote in that same issue, "I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police ... What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator. ...I have to admit my admiration for the care and caution expressed in this article and this research. Can it be true that about two million instances occur each year in which a gun was used as a defensive measure against crime? It is hard to believe. Yet, it is hard to challenge the data collected. We do not have contrary evidence. The National Crime Victim Survey does not directly contravene this latest survey, nor do the Mauser and Hart Studies. ... the methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it. ... The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well."

So this data has been peer-reviewed by a top criminologist in this country who was prejudiced in advance against its results, and even he found the scientific evidence overwhelmingly convincing.

By Comparison:

A fatal accident involving a firearm occurs in the United States only about once every 6 hours. For victims age 14 or under, it's fewer than one a day -- but still enough for the news media to have a case to tell you about in every day's edition.

Source: National Safety Council

A criminal homicide involving a firearm occurs in the United States about once every half hour -- but two-thirds of the fatalities are not completely innocent victims but themselves have criminal records.

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports and Murder Analysis by the Chicago Police Department

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