Statistics on the Dangers of Gun Use for Self-Defense

Posted on January 1, 2012

Using a gun in self-defense is no more likely to reduce the chance of being injured during a crime than various other forms of protective action.1

Of the 13,636 Americans who were murdered in 2009, only 215 were killed by firearms (165 by handguns) in homicides by private citizens that law enforcement determined were justifiable.2

A study reviewing surveys of gun use in the U.S. determined that most self-reported self-defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society.3

  1. David Hemenway, Private Guns, Public Health 78 (2004). []
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Crime in the United States, 2009, Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, at (last visited Oct. 10, 2010). (A “justifiable homicide” in this context is defined by the FBI as the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen). []
  3. David Hemenway, Deborah Azrael & Matthew Miller, Gun Use in the United States: Results from Two National Surveys, 6 Inj. Prevention 263, 263 (2000). []