How many times a day does a gun save a life in the United States?

Many people on both sides of the firearms rights debate like to throw around statistics. They will use statistical data on how many mass murders have used this gun or that, or how many have been stopped by an armed citizen, or whatever fits the narrative they are trying to push. But there is something that most of the people who try to use statistics fail to do. They fail to realize that statistics are only as good as those things that are reported or fit a particular narrow idea.

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I have heard more than once that defensive gun uses happen this many times a year or that many. If you ask the anti-gun crowd, they will tell you one number, or that it does not happen at all. If you ask the pro-gun side, they will inform you that it happens many times each day. But neither side can prove their numbers. And why is that?

Because defensive gun uses are not recorded few are mentioned in the news reports on the net. And what I found was that not all defensive gun uses involved a gun being fired. In fact one instance, I read a news report on an incident where a homeowner held an intruder for the police. Nowhere in the story was it mentioned that they used a gun until the last sentence. Almost like they didn’t want to have to admit it.

 

So where are the statistics for the defensive use of firearms kept? Nowhere, actually. There are several places you can get partial stats on the use, but it will not contain things like the story above. Also, what about those instances where someone uses a firearm to stop a crime of some kind, and since no crime is committed, no report to the authorities is made? Where can you go to get accurate numbers for things like this? You can’t find them.

I run a Facebook page called “Defensive Gun Use,” where I post links to news stories I get notifications about that involve DGUs. And in doing so, I have been surprised at how many there are. Some days multiple events, some days none. But what I can say from seeing the hundreds and hundreds of news reports is that it happens way more than most people think. More than I thought, at least.

When someone uses the phrase “if it saves just one life, isn’t it worth it?” when trying to push new gun laws, I answer back that they have saved many more than just one life, so are they not worth it? Defensive gun uses are real—they happen all the time, more than most people think.

 

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