The Myth of Millions of Annual Self-Defense Gun Uses: A Case Study of Survey Overestimates of Rare Events

Category: Defensive Gun Use|Journal: Chance (full text)|Author: D Hemenway|Posted On: January 01,1997

A criminologist has been using national self-report surveys to estimate the incidence of self-defense gun use in the United States (Kleck 199I). His most recent estimate is that civilians use guns in self-defense against offenders more than 2.5 million times each year (Kleck and Gertz 1995). This figure has been widely cited, not only by the National Rifle Association but in the media and in Congress. A criminologist in Canada is touting high self-defense estimates for that country, derived from similar self-report surveys (Mauser 1995).