The Defensive Gun Use Lie and the Gun Lobby’s Firehose of Falsehood

GVPedia University

The Defensive Gun Use Lie and the Gun Lobby’s Firehose of Falsehood: How decades of shoddy research, lax academic oversight, marketing, and outright lies fatally warped America’s gun culture


Accurate information is critically important in fighting America’s epidemic of gun violence. Just as important, however, is countering inaccurate information. Until the defensive gun use myth is defeated, Americans will continue buying firearms in the mistaken belief that those guns will make them safer, and gun violence will continue unabated.”

Recently, we released 12 articles supporting our in-depth research project examining the defensive gun use myth and how to refute it.


The  document can be read and shared in its entirety here, or you can find each of the articles in our series below:

Part 1 examined recent high-profile incidents of DGUs gone wrong, how the NRA has seized on the defensive gun use narrative to further its guns everywhere agenda, and what constitutes a DGUPart 2 looked at the academic origins of the DGU myth and its massive flaws. Part 3 delved into why surveys of statistically rare events produce substantial overestimates. Part 4 explored the surprising parallel pro-gun academic Gary Kleck draws between defensive gun use and using cocaine. Part 5 explained how most DGUs reported in surveys are likely aggressive and illegal. Part 6 looked at the National Crime Victimization Survey’s DGU numbers as an alternative to private surveys. Part 7 investigated the lie that there are more defensive gun uses than offensive uses, and how that lie found its way into the 2013 National Academy of Sciences Report on firearms. Part 8 examined the Gun Violence Archive’s data on defensive gun use and how it debunks the widespread DGU myth. Part 9 looked at pro-gun attempts to resurrect the defensive gun use myth in recent years. Part 10 examined the story of why the CDC removed flawed defensive gun use numbers from its “Fast Facts” website, and the resulting pro-gun firestorm. Part 11 analyzed the false claim that defensive gun use is more effective at preventing injury than other forms of self-defense. Part 12 provided some final thoughts on the defensive gun use myth and its central role in shaping America’s gun culture.

We also have previously published content on defensive gun use, which can be found here.


We are grateful and humbled to be able to do this work and to support efforts to bring attention to some of the most serious components of gun violence. If you’d like for us to speak to your group or organization further about this topic or others, please reach out to us.


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