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Gun Ownership Provides Effective Self-Defense (From Gun Control, P 142-149, 1992, Charles P Cozic, ed. -- See NCJ-160164)

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages
Many more criminals are killed or wounded each year by armed citizens than by the police; this proves that owning a gun is possibly the most effective way to protect oneself from crime.
Protection of self, of one's loved ones, of one's home and community is the root of the American tradition of gun ownership. It is a concept cherished from the beginning of time and preserved most democratically within the English common law heritage, in which the defense of home, community, and kingdom rested upon an armed and ready populace. A survey conducted by Florida State University Professor Gary Kleck estimates that there were approximately 645,000 defensive uses of handguns against persons per year, excluding police or military uses. The survey also found that guns of all types were used substantially more often defensively than criminally and that gun-wielding civilians in self-defense or some other legally justified cause killed between 1,500 and 2,800 felons annually. The view that potential crime victims run a greater risk of injury if they are armed has been proven groundless. According to U.S. Justice Department victimization studies analyzed by Kleck, for both robbery and assault, victims who used guns for protection were less likely either to be attacked or injured than victims who responded in any other way, including those who did not resist at all; and victims who resisted robbers with guns were less likely to lose their property. A follow-up study of rape found that using a gun or knife for protection reduced the likelihood of a completed rape, and using a gun reduced the likelihood of injury to close to zero. Such resistance also reduces the likelihood of psychological trauma. The decision about whether or not to own a handgun should be made by individual citizens rather than an overprotective government, particularly when the courts have held that governments have no legal responsibility to provide protection when a person's life is threatened.


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