Armed citizens can and do stop violence. Here is James D. Agresti writing at Just the Facts Daily:
In a New York Times column entitled “How to Reduce Shootings,” Nicholas Kristof writes, “It is true that guns are occasionally used to stop violence. But contrary to what the National Rifle Association suggests, this is rare. One study by the Violence Policy Center found that in 2012 there were 259 justifiable homicides by a private citizen using a firearm.”
That statement grossly misleads by pretending that firearms only stop violence when they are used to kill criminals. As explained by the National Academies of Sciences in a 300+ page analysis of firearms studies, “effective defensive gun use need not ever lead the perpetrator to be wounded or killed. Rather, to assess the benefits of self-defense, one needs to measure crime and injury averted. The particular outcome of an offender is of little relevance.”
Likewise, a 1995 paper in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology states, “This is also too serious a matter to base conclusions on silly statistics comparing the number of lives taken with guns with the number of criminals killed by victims. Killing a criminal is not a benefit to the victim, but rather a nightmare to be suffered for years afterward.”
The purpose of having a gun for defense is not to kill criminals but to prevent them from killing or harming others. Accordingly, the same 1995 paper found that “only 8%” of people who use a gun for defense “report wounding an adversary.” Given the study’s sample size, this 8% figure has a margin of sampling error of ± 4 percentage points with 95% confidence. The authors conclude that “the rather modest 8.3% wounding rate we found is probably too high” and that defensive gun uses “are less serious or dramatic in their consequences than our data suggest.”
Read more: Just the Facts Daily
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