Monday, May 19, 2014

Yet another reason to fear accurate gun use research.

It seems that there was a study published in the Western Journal of Medicine back in 2001 that came up with these results:


Even after many of the firearm victimization reports were excluded, the data show that more survey respondents report having been threatened or intimidated with a gun than having used a gun for self-protection. Most judges rated the reported self-defense gun uses as probably illegal in most cases, even assuming that the respondent had a permit to own and carry the gun and that the respondent had described the event honestly.
Guns are used to threaten and intimidate more often than they are used in self-defense. Most self-reported self-defense gun uses may be illegal and against the interests of society.
Results like that don't look too good for the "pro-gun" side.  That might also be a reason for the "Get Away with Murder" laws since it doesn't look too good to have a legal inquiry into these matters if most cases of "self-defence" may be illegal and against the interests of society.

Much better to say "I wuz actin' in sef-deefence" and end the inquiry in that case.


Are guns used more by US civilians for self-defense or for intimidation? West J Med. Jun 2001; 174(6): 396.


  1. "Although surveys of defensive gun episodes may shed some light on what respondents believe, they are not likely to resolve uncertainty about the net risk or benefit of guns. We could not credibly estimate the health effects of bicycle helmets or vehicle seat belts by surveying persons about their experiences. Surveys about guns cannot reliably assess the health effects of guns because we can never know what might have happened had the person not had a gun in the same situation. Surveys omit those individuals who suffered the worst harm—those who died—and offer no comparison between the experience of gun owners and nonowners."

    There does seem to be a collection of studies on this site discussing the issue of gun violence. Which again seems to belie the claim that there is no funding for violence research.

    "First, three respondents reported over 58% of the self defense gun uses, and none of their accounts were read by the judges (since all refused to provide a description of the most recent event). Many reported self defense gun uses from a respondent creates a suspicion that the uses may be aggressive rather than defensive. "

    I'd say its also a possible indicator of someone trying to make stuff up. That's a problem with phone surveys and someone making comments on Facebook or Twitter, etc. The person being surveyed enjoys anonymity. And some people will run with it beyond all expectations.

    1. There has been a concerted effort to both legislate so that entities cannot do any gun violence research and to cut any kind of public funding to academic institutions that do such research.

      Just because the effort has not been entirely successful does not negate that the effort has occurred and continues aggressively.

    2. I thought the point of Laci's excellent post was that many so called defensive uses of guns are not defensive at all. I've been saying that for a long time. This is the first official report I've seen which backs it up.

  2. "But if just saves ONE innocent life!" Its for the children.

    1. That is an extraordinarily offensive comment, given how many more children in this country die or are injured by guns than in other countries with similar economic and social levels of development.

      Know what works to prevent that problem we have? STRICT GUN CONTROL.

    2. Yeah, it's offensive but even more than this it's stupid. Gun nuts love to repeat the stupid shit that other gun nuts say.