Are Firearms Absolutely Necessary for Self-Defense?

According to Wayne Lapierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, the only way that Americans can stop bad guys with guns is arming good guys with guns. So, let’s dive deeper into the topic: Are firearms absolutely necessary for self-defense?

So, back to what Mr. Lapierre said, this view is held by a large section of gun rights advocates.

According to NRA, a 1994 study conducted by criminologist Gary Kleck in Florida State University points that Americans use guns defensively for up to 2.5million times each year to protect themselves against burglars, rapists and other bad guys with or without guns.

Not all people nod to this study.

Some academicians believe that the 6000 people who were part of Kleck’s study may have given information based on their aggressive use of firearms and not self-defense.

This group of critics, or anti-gun rights advocates, point to studies that show the use of firearms for self-defense is very rare.

What Do Figures Say?

Anti-gun rights advocates point to reports that, in 2012, FBI released information that of the 8,855 criminal gun homicides they handled, only 258 fatal shootings involving private citizens were checked as justifiable.

This shows that for every citizen who uses a gun in self-defense, there are about 34 bad guys using guns.

Another study conducted by Gun Violence Archive, based on data from the Justice Department and FBI, shows that of 52,000 shootings recorded in 2014, fewer than 1,600 shootings involved use of firearms by private citizens in self-defense.

Gun rights advocates point that although the figures show that guns are rarely used in self-defense, police do not report all cases where citizens use guns in self-defense.

Again, they point that having a gun can deter criminals from invading you or your home. In most cases, according to NRA, private citizens never have to fire a shot as criminals already fear the fact that they have guns.

Americans Believe Guns Will Make Them Safer

Gallup conducted a poll that shows more than 63 percent of Americans believe that they are safer with a gun. Another 56 percent believe that if every homestead had a gun, the country would enjoy peace.

However, there are studies that point the contrary.

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, having a gun exacerbates chances of bodily harm. The study shows that, the 80 million Americans who carry guns are 90 percent more prone to death by a gun than the Americans who do not carry guns.

This study was supported by another study published in the American Journal of Public Health that showed Americans who carry guns are 4.5 times more prone to be shot than Americans who are unarmed.

Firearms and Home Defense

When burglars invade your home, they often come looking for valuables. A few of them lead to the murder of homeowners but essentially, the bad guys take off with valuables during an invasion on your home. Are guns really need then?

To show more why you might not need a gun for self-defense at home, a 2014 study conducted in the University of California, pointed that homeowners with guns are three times more likely to shoot themselves.

It is not that these gun owners are suicidal but they are likely to shoot themselves when they feel suicidal just because they have a gun.

Can Concealed-Carry Holders Stop Mass Killings?

There are instances where armed civilians have stopped mass killings. According to a study conducted by the FBI between 2000 and 2013, there was only one case where a ‘good guy with gun’ stopped mass killings.

Still, there is a number of reported cases where good guys with guns stopped mass killings either by shooting the “bad guy” or by holding stopping him from shooting until police arrived.

Are Civilians Trained to Handle Shooting Situations?

It is one thing to carry a concealed gun and quite a different scenario to use it during a shoot-out. In some states, you do not need to have firearm training to own a gun.

You only need to walk into a gun store and buy a gun. In such cases, there are more chances of the “good guys” missing their targets and shooting more “good guys”.

According to David Chipman, a former SWAT team member, it is better for civilians to be witnesses than open fire where they may risk the life of those they are trying to protect.

“Good Guys” Shooting “Good Guys”

There are instances where “good guys” have had to stand down so as not be mistaken for the “bad guys”. In shootings police and other “good guys” might mistake the “good guys” who came to the shooting scene first as the “bad guys”.

In Oregon Umpqua Community College, Chris Harper-Mercer opened fire and killed nine civilians. John Parker Jr., Air Force vet, was at the scene with his firearm ready but decided to stand down so police wouldn’t mistake him for the “bad guy”.

He might have helped save a few lives had he not stood down.

In another scenario, Joe Zamudio helped save lives in the 2011 Tuscon mass shootings but he nearly killed a regular “good guy with gun” before saving the lives of more people.

In conclusion: Are Firearms Absolutely Necessary for Self-Defense?

A good gun would be a great addition to your self-defense kit; at least according to NRA. But it can also increase the risks of you dying by a gun; according to anti-gun advocates and law enforcers.

What is your take on this topic?


p.s. Take a look at these resources for hand-to-hand combat for self defense.

Guest article from: Josh M. (of Minute Man Review)

for Code Red Defense