Just For Skeptics

Myth #1: A Gun In The Home Means You Are Three Times More Likely To Be Killed

1. Fact: Guns are used more often to save life. Dr. Edgar Suter has pointed out that studies which make the claim that guns are more likely to kill the owner are flawed because they fail to consider the number of lives saved by guns. (1) That is, such claims ignore the vast number of non-lethal defensive uses with firearms. Criminologists have found that citizens use firearms as often as 2.5 million times every year in self-defense. In over 90% of these defensive uses, citizens merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off the attacker. (2)

2. Fact: A study claiming "guns more likely to kill you than help you" is a total fraud. Not surprisingly, the figure claiming one is three times more likely to be killed by one's own gun is a total lie. The author of this study, Dr. Arthur Kellerman, refused to release the data behind his conclusions for years. (3) Subsequently available evidence shows why Kellerman stonewalled for so long:

* Researcher Don Kates reveals that all available data now indicates that the "home gun homicide victims [in Kellerman's study] were killed using guns not kept in the victim's home." (4) In other words, the victims were NOT murdered with their own guns! They were killed "by intruders who brought their own guns to the victim's household."

* In retrospect, Kates found, it was not the ownership of firearms that put these victims at high risk. Rather, it was the victim's "high-risk life-styles [such as criminal associations] that caused them to own guns at higher rates than the members of the supposedly comparable control group."(5)

 


 

1. Dr. Edgar A. Suter, "Guns in the Medical Literature -- A Failure of Peer Review," The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, vol. 83 (March 1994):136.

2. Kleck and Gertz, "Armed Resistance to Crime," at 173, 185.

3. Don B. Kates, "Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence, or Pandemic of Propaganda?" in Gary Kleck & Kates, Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control (2001), p. 79.

4. Ibid., p. 75.

5. Ibid., p. 76.