White Paper: The Frequency of Defensive Gun Use
- There are 3 major estimates of Defensive Gun Use (DGU) frequency per year:
- Gary Kleck and private surveys: approximately 2.5 million.
- National Crime Victimization Survey: approximately 100,000.
- Gun Violence Archive (based on police and media reports): less than 2,000.
- Surveys of rare events such as DGUs exaggerate their frequency due to false positives.
- While methodologically better, the NCVS estimate also suffers from false positives and is therefore likely an overestimate as well.
- Several of the crime predictions from Kleck’s survey are mathematically impossible, such as DGUs during burglaries and criminals being shot.
- Comprehensive empirical data (such as GVA’s) trumps survey data when they provide conflicting results.
White Paper: Gun Laws and Suicide
- Aside from buybacks and laws that directly reduce gun ownership, firearm laws can only have an effect on the suicide rate of populations not previously exposed to firearms.
- Most firearm laws are not passed with reducing suicides as their primary intent, thereby attenuating any relationship between said laws and suicide reduction.
- Laws passed in Israel and Switzerland designed to limit suicides among soldiers by reducing gun access have seen significant results among the target population.
- States with stricter gun laws in the US, particularly Permit-to-Purchase laws, see significantly lower rates of overall suicide, with little evidence of a substitution effect from firearms to other means.
- Australia’s gun buyback and suite of other reforms in 1996 resulted in a significant reduction in suicides according to multiple studies.
White Paper: Gun Ownership and Suicide
- Firearms are the most lethal significant means of suicide with an 82.5% fatality rate, versus a fatality rate of 4% for all suicide attempts.
- Lethality matters, as approximately 90% of individuals don’t attempt suicide again.
- Even with a 100% substitution rate for suicide attempts (switching from firearms to an alternative means), the completed suicide rate would still go down as firearms are more lethal.
- Attempting suicide is usually an impulsive decision (70% decide within an hour).
- Firearm availability is the only plausible factor to explain the significant difference in suicide rates.