Guns and Gear

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Here Are The Stats Gun Grabbers Ignore On Defensive Firearms Use

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Larry Correia Contributor
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The following is an excerpt from Larry Correia’s “In Defense of the Second Amendment.” It can be purchased here.

It doesn’t really make sense to ban guns, because in reality what that means is that you are actually trying to ban effective self-defense. Despite the constant hammering by a news media with an agenda, guns are used in America far more often to stop crime than to cause crime. 

I’ve seen several different sets of numbers about how many times guns are used in self-defense every year. The problem with keeping track of this stat is that the vast majority of the time, when a gun is used in a legal self-defense situation, no shots are fired. The mere presence of the gun is enough to cause the criminal to stop. Notable firearms instructor Clint Smith had a saying: “If you look like food, you will be eaten.” Regular criminals are looking for prey. They want easy victims. If they wanted to work hard for a living, they’d get a job.

When you pull a gun, you are no longer prey, you are work, so they’re usually going to go find somebody easier to pick on. 

Many defensive gun uses (DGUs) never get tracked as such. From personal experience, I have pulled a gun on another human being one time in my entire life. I was legally justified, and the aggressor stopped, lowered his gun, and left. My one defensive gun use was never recorded as a stat anywhere as far as I know, because no shots were fired. 

My wife has used a firearm in self-defense twice in her life. Once on somebody who was acting very rapey, who suddenly found a better place to be when she stuck a pistol in his face, and again years later on a German Shepherd that was attacking my one-year-old son. No police report at all on the second one, and I don’t believe the first one ever turned up as any sort of defensive use statistic because no shots were fired. 

So how often are guns used in self-defense? 

One of the most commonly cited studies estimates that there are around 2.5 million defensive gun uses a year, which is orders of magnitude higher than our number of murders. 

America’s murder rate had been trending steadily downward over the last two decades, until in 2020 it skyrocketed to the highest number it’s been in twenty-five years, with over 21,000 murders. Keep in mind not all of those murders were done with firearms. Twenty nineteen is the last year I could find a detailed breakdown from the FBI, which is showing 13,927 murders, with approximately 74 percent (10,258) of those being done with guns.

Why was there such an astoundingly massive increase in homicides in 2020? What current events could have possibly influenced that number? This was the year of “fiery but mostly peaceful” protests, and people chanting “All Cops Are Bastards,” while cities let hoodlums start up their own “autonomous zones.” Big city DAs decided to quit sending violent criminals to jail. Grifters changed Black Lives Matter to Buy Large Mansions, and the very people they were supposedly helping had their neighborhoods engulfed in violence and chaos for it. It’s almost like letting criminals do whatever they want, unimpeded by the law, Mad Max–dystopia-style has negative consequences or something. 

Regardless, that still puts defensive gun uses about 119 times higher than even our crappiest murder year of recent times. 

But to really drive this home, let’s not go with the high estimate. Let’s go with some smaller ones instead. Since everybody who takes a crack at this sets different parameters for their studies, results vary wildly, with papers citing numbers between 500,000 and 3 million defensive gun uses a year. 

Let’s use that far more conservative 500,000 number. That still absolutely dominates that homicide number. In fact, the absolute lowest estimated number I could find anywhere was 100,000, which is kind of absurd once you hear that the average result of seventeen other surveys was 2 million.

The only kind of people dishonest enough to try and sell that 100K number are the vultures. Yet even given that ludicrously low estimate, the good guys still win by a rather substantial margin. So even if you use the worst number provided by people who are just as biased as I am, but in the opposite direction, defensive gun use is a huge net positive. Or to put it another way, anti-gun zealots hate your owning guns so much that they are totally cool with the population of a fairly large city getting assaulted, raped, and murdered every year as collateral damage in order to get what they want. 

The thing to remember about vulture statistics is that they’re always twisted for emotional impact. Mark Twain talked about lies, damned lies, and statistics, but our modern anti-gun zealots would have blown his mind. Their goal is to toss out something that sounds lurid and ghastly, truth be damned, and by the time it is debunked it doesn’t matter, because liars and useful idiots will just regurgitate it forever. Like the infamous a gun in the home is forty-three times more likely to kill you or a loved one than an intruder. That one is straight up nonsense, created with embarrassingly flawed methods, from a tiny sample, that even the author has since revised down to a tiny fraction of that (and he’s still grasping at straws to get there), yet they’ve been unabashedly repeating this thoroughly debunked lie since 1986. I was in sixth grade. Original Top Gun was in theaters. They’ve got no shame!

Back to comparing the social costs, I’ve been talking about homicides versus DGUs, but what about criminals using firearms in crimes that don’t result in homicides? That’s an even harder number to pin down. What are the parameters used to define that? Like they actually shot at somebody? Or they had one on them while performing some other kind of crime? In searching for this, I found a lot fewer options to choose from. One of the few estimates I could find was from the National Crime Victimization Study, at 480,000. 

Comparing that to the average estimate, DGU’s win handily; compared to the really low estimate, they come out about even—and I doubt anybody who has read this far is gullible enough to buy NPR’s goofy partisan number.