On Defensive Gun Uses And How They Outpace Gun Deaths

Anti-gunners love throwing numbers around. They like big numbers and to present them without context. They’ll tell you how many people were killed by firearms last year, a big enough number that people will balk and start thinking, “Maybe we should do something.”


Of course, they fail to note that most of those are suicides. If it’s pointed out, they’ll pretend it doesn’t matter, that they should still be included, but it does nothing to defend the disingenuous nature of the numbers as presented.

Something else they tend to do is fail to note that “gun deaths” are still a drop in the bucket compared to defensive gun uses.

Thankfully, the data is on their – and our – side, and this is far from an outlier event. In an age where we’re told that firearm-related homicides are skyrocketing, we are actually experiencing a marked decline from a high point of seven per 100,000 people in 1993 to around half that. The Washington Post in 2015 noted the decline but attributed it to every possible factor, from the police using computers to an improving economy to lead removal, but leaves out the fact that the statistics exist despite more and more guns being produced and owned by Americans. They also conveniently leave out the hundreds of thousands of instances of defensive gun use.

Just how many times do Americans use weapons to defend themselves every year? It’s a tough number to nail down for a variety of reasons, but depending on the source it’s anywhere from upwards of 2 million per year to the Washington Post’s “more reasonable” (read: lowball) estimate of 100,000. But either way, it’s more than fair to say that more lives are saved by guns used in self-defense than are taken by the criminals who use them for nefarious purposes. And if you count homicides and not suicides, we’re talking about around 10,000 deaths per year, or one tenth of the Post’s lowball estimate.


Even if you don’t exclude suicides for some reason, the number of defensive gun uses still outpaces gun deaths by a rate of three to one.

In other words, guns save a whole lot more lives than they supposedly take, even with these “more reasonable” numbers. However, that number is far below what the Centers for Disease Controls found in their own study, one that went unpublished because it apparently failed to advance the narrative.

The CDC found that almost 2.5 million people used a firearm defensively within a 12-month span. That’s well beyond what the Washington Post claims, and I trust the CDC’s resources more than even a large newspaper’s.

Despite this fact, anti-gunners continue to peddle the nonsense that guns are somehow responsible for all of these deaths. The truth of the matter is that most, if not all, of these deaths, would likely still have occurred if the weapon were something different. Someone who wants to kill another will find a way. You can’t make people behave simply because you made it difficult to use one particular tool.


But you can make it more difficult for someone to defend themselves, and we can clearly see which happens more often.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member