Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Silencing the Myth

Study Finds Guns Do Not Increase Personal Safety
Harvard revealed data that shows “defensive gun use” not only rarely protects a person from harm, but gun involvement also increases personal danger – decreasing personal safety.

Though concealed carry crusaders and NRA flag-waivers would have you believe otherwise – a new study from The Journal of Preventative Medicine finds no advantages to using a firearm for self defense.

Led by David Hemenway, Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this study utilizes data from the National Crime Victimization Survey. It is an annual survey of 90,000 households which has revealed data that shows “defensive gun use” not only rarely protects a person from harm, but also increases the personal danger.

The study found that in incidents where a victim used a gun in self-defense, the likelihood of suffering an injury was 10.9 percent. 

Had the victim taken no action at all, the risk of injury was virtually identical: 11 percent. 

Having a gun also didn’t reduce the likelihood of losing property: 38.5 percent of those who used a gun in self-defense had property taken from them, compared to 34.9 percent of victims who used another type of weapon, such as a knife or baseball bat.
What’s more, the study found that while the likelihood of injury afterbrandishing a firearm was reduced to 4.1 percent, the injury rate after those defensive gun uses was similar to using any other weapon (5.3 percent), and was still greater than if the person had run away or hid (2.4 percent) or called the police (2.2 percent). These results were similar to previous research on older NCVS data which showed that, while using a firearm in self-defense did lower a person’s risk of subsequent injury, it was less effective than using any weapon other than a gun. – The Trace
Further data showed that when someone uses a gun in self defense it is commonly part of escalating hostilities where both parties are likely responsible for the event that prompts the hostile outcome. 

Some example responses of this type of defensive gun use include: “I was watching a movie and he interrupted me. I yelled at him that I was going to shoot him and he ran to his car,” or “I was on my porch and this man threw a beer in my face so I got my gun.”

The data also revealed that defensive gun use is far less common than believed by the public, with “DGUs” showing up in less than one percent of attempted or completed crimes. 

Opponents claim that the numbers do not represent a large enough percentage of DGUs, or that many DGUs go unreported. However, the study does represent one of the most grounded arguments that the firearm does not increase safety when a victim is subjected to a crime. The safest possible responses in threatening situations continue to be hiding or fleeing.

Interestingly, Liberals Unite reported (including 2 ABC News videos) about a controlled study back in 2010 that found “concealed carry permit holders are fooling themselves if they think they will be able to react effectively to armed aggressors. 

Most CCW holders won’t even be able to un-holster their gun. They will more likely be killed themselves or kill innocent bystanders than stop the aggressor.”

Author Rowan Lee sez: Hey! Before you go… Follow @therowanlee on twitter for more rantings, ravings, and musings. You’ll be glad you did, I promise.