Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How to Count the Defensive Use of Guns

Stringent gun control advocates are fond of underestimating the possible importance of owning a gun. For example, a pair of anti-gun activists took to Politico in January to claim that the gun rights community is deluded about the likely number of defensive uses of guns by American citizens. Such defensive uses are known as DGUs ("defensive gun uses") in the lingo.

Many in the gun rights community believe that a privately owned gun is used in legitimate self-defense over 2 million times a year in America. This figure arose initially from the survey work done in 1993 by Florida State University criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz.

That study, known as the National Self-Defense Survey (NSDS), involved conducting nearly 5,000 interviews by phone in 48 states, anonymously, with phone numbers randomly generated. The respondents were asked if over the past five years they had used a gun—even if not fired—for self-protection or protection of property at work, home, or elsewhere. They were asked to exclude any use in miitary, police, or security work, if applicable, and asked whether the gun use was against an animal or a person.

If their response indicated a DGU, they were asked if the gun use had occurred in the past year, and if it was the speaker or another member of the household who had the experience. Those who claimed DGUs were then asked what Kleck described in his 2001 book Armed as a "detailed series of questions establishing exactly what happened" in the incidents.

Kleck says they found 222 bonafide DGUs directly via survey. The defender had to "state a specific crime they thought was being committed" and to have actually used the gun, even if just threateningly or by "verbally referring to the gun." Kleck insists the surveyors were scrupulous about eliminating any sketchy or questionable-seeming responses.

The study concluded, based only on stories said to have occurred to the speaker during the past year, and extrapolating from their results, that 2.2 to 2.5 million DGUs happened in the U.S. a year.

More Here

No comments: