GUNS: Defensive Use

Mark Grant (
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 22:24:38 +0000

On Wed, 2 Jul 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> The facts are that over 2.4 million crimes are prevented each year,
> according to one statistic I've seen (I don't have the source with me
> but I'll dig it up), by the use of firearms by private citizens.

Gary Kleck's study, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida
State University. I find that study a little dubious, but the *lowest*
figure ever produced has been 60,000 crimes prevented each year. AFAIR
Kleck's figure includes any instance in which the individual believed that
their firearm prevented a crime, whereas the 60,000 figure was for cases
where their firearm could be proven to have definitely stopped a crime.

There are good reasons to believe that the true figure is somewhere in
between, since individuals are likely to be overoptimistic, while the low
figure was the result of a government survey and hence inevitably
inaccurate since so many defensive gun uses are in themselves illegal and
would not be reported. I'd be surprised if the true figure was much under
a million.


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