Estimates On Defensive Firearm Use Pose A Major Problem. Here's Why.

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Posted: Jun 08, 2018 8:30 AM
Estimates On Defensive Firearm Use Pose A Major Problem. Here's Why.

Anti-gun crusaders love to use the phrase “if it saves one life” to justify their unconstitutional agenda. They don’t like guns; and they’re convinced that that if we pass just one more law, Utopia will burst forth like Athena from the head of Zeus.

However, they’re failing to do a little bit of math. After all, saving one life loses some meaning if it costs two.

Unfortunately, we’re forced to use estimates when it comes to self-defense. While we have hard data on the number of people killed each year, we don’t have the same for those who act in self-defense.

Take, for example, the hero in a school shooting in Noblesville, Indiana. A science teacher by the name of Jason Seaman went after the attacker, knocking the handgun from his palm and ending the attack.

Seaman killed no one. He injured no one. All he did was save lives.

Yet where in the FBI data will you see his actions reflected?

The simple answer is, you won’t. They won’t be there. In the end, Seaman’s experience won’t impact the discussion on firearm regulations simply because he didn’t need a gun.

Yet, Florida State University’s Gary Kleck estimated some time back that 2.5 million people did use a firearm for self-defense. That’s a big number, and it’s alarming to anti-gunners. Because it’s an estimate, they’ve attacked the number over and over.

It’s too bad for them that Kleck’s estimate was supported by an organization that is supposed to be unbiased in research. The Centers for Disease Control, contrary to what many think, still conducts many gun-related studies. However, it seems that they didn’t publish all of their findings.

In particular, they didn’t reveal a study that found an estimated 2.46 million defensive uses of a firearm each year. Again, that’s the CDC’s findings, not Kleck’s. They just sound an awful lot like Kleck’s.

However, these are still estimates. Estimates are easy to dismiss when you don’t like the estimate. Especially when the estimates range from as high as 2.5 million or as low as 116,000. And part of that is because, like Seaman’s ordeal, what transpires may not generate any sort of tracking report.

When a gun owner presents a firearm during a threat to their life, they often don’t even need to pull the trigger. After all, a criminal with a knife or a hammer or something else will rarely decide the few dollars in someone’s wallet is worth being killed over.

As a result, even if the police are called—and they’re often not, which I’ll get into in a bit—there’s nothing for the FBI or other law enforcement to track except for the initial robbery attempt.

And, again, that assumes the police are called. Often, gun owners don’t pick up the phone.

This failure to call the police is often cited by anti-gun crusaders as evidence that it didn’t really happen. However, it’s simply not true. The gun community has plenty of stories of people who appear to have done everything right, only to become the target of an overzealous police department or prosecutor. While these folks usually end up in the clear, it’s a long, arduous, and expensive ordeal.

As the meme says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

So, many continue to just go about their day. No shots were fired, so why risk it?

And even if the police are called, it doesn’t guarantee that a report will be generated. I’ve personally seen that happen, as well.

The result of all of this is a real problem in tracking self-defense statistics. We only have estimates, which vary wildly.

However, it still bears noting that even the most conservative estimates of defensive gun uses are several times higher than the number of firearm-related fatalities, even if you continue to add in suicide statistics, which anti-gunners are fond of doing.

Take those out and the difference is an even starker contrast.

But without hard statics rather than estimates, some people will continue to pretend that those defensive uses of a firearm just never happen.