GUN STUDIES: The Defensive Gun Use Misinformation War

by Alan J Chwick & Joanne D Eisen

Scared Bed Gun Nightstand Self Defense
GUN STUDIES: The Defensive Gun Use Misinformation War

USA – -( TO DEFEND, or NOT TO DEFEND – that is a question to which almost the entire globe has answered “NO” to self-defense.

The answer is relevant because if you have the RIGHT and the WILLINGNESS to defend yourself and your family, you will choose to use a firearm. If the answer is “NO,” then civilians will be banned from the possession of weapons.

But here in the US, we have that RIGHT, and so gun control freaks have created a battle of numbers. If there are many civilian defensive uses of guns per year, then civilian possession is beneficial. If there are more criminal uses of firearms per year than civilian defensive uses, then discussion of limiting private ownership of weapons becomes part of the debate.

The problem is that the number of Defensive Gun Uses (DGU), are estimated by polls. But answers to poll questions by respondents are easily manipulated. So how many DGUs are there?

One pro-gun writer hit the nail directly on the head. Surveys usually underestimate the number of DGUs because “respondents underreport [1] crime victimization experiences, [2] gun ownership and [3] their illegal behavior. “Many gun owners no longer trust people who ask sensitive questions, and many are concerned/confused by the changing degrees of the legality of purchase, possession, use, and carry.

It really doesn’t matter, says Brian Doherty, because. “Knowing for sure how many DGUs there are in America in any given year is irrelevant, however, to any important political, ethical, or certainly Constitutional, discussion about gun ownership in America.”

And that is true in the short run. But let’s ask ourselves why the gun control freaks lie so hard to make us believe that there are very few yearly DGUs?

Every little bit of fear they can drum up in our ignorant populace works in their favor. Here’s what happened.

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data shows about 64,615 DGUs per year, and so, according to McDowall and Wiersema in 1994, “Firearm self-defense is rare compared with gun crimes.”

But in 1995, Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz disputed the accuracy of the NCVS data. They described how respondents knew that the interviewers were government employees and that respondents were never even asked if they used a gun for protection. And, their survey results found 1.5 to 1.9 million DGUs involving handguns and a total of 2.2 to 2.5 DGUs per year.

They unequivocally stated, “the DGU is very common, far more common than has been recognized to date by criminologists or policymakers, and certainly far more common than one would think based on any official sources of information.”

Detailed manipulation of numbers can be complicated, dark and dull, but the Kleck/Gertz paper is easy to understand, and we recommend studying it. Kleck and Gertz said that 400,000 people felt that their lives were saved by their guns.

“If even one-tenth of these people are accurate in their stated perceptions, ” they continue, “the number of lives saved by victim use of guns would still exceed the total number of lives taken by guns.”

In late 1995, Marvin Wolfgang wrote, “They have provided an almost clear-cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years. Namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator…it is hard to challenge the data collected.”

Philip Cook, an anti-gun criminologist who never found a set of numbers he couldn’t manipulate to prove that firearms are pieces of junk, with Jens Ludwig and David Hemenway in 1997, tried to discredit Kleck and Gertz, but could not. They complained about the 2.5 million estimate of DGUs, but found that their survey result was,”in the same ballpark as that propounded by Kleck and Gertz.”

But still, our enemies need lies and mistruths to function.

Victims Who Shoot Back Live Longer Self Defense School Shootings
When someone asks why we need an Uzi for hunting or an AR-15 for target shooting, we should not be shamed into silence.

As time goes by, they continue to attempt to distort the data. We don’t resort to lies to function; truth will always trump lies. Our philosophy stands up firmly to all tests. But we do need to know the facts or our Second Amendment and we will be overwhelmed by lies.

The Violence Policy Center (VPC) told us that, in 2014, there were 234 justifiable homicides by a private citizen and 7,670 criminal firearm homicides.
The liars at the VPC failed to tell us that DGUs rarely result in death. In fact, most DGUs consist merely of brandishing the weapon or gesturing to it. Their comparison is a misleading, deliberate mistruth obfuscation.

Also, recently, there is the controversy that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) withheld surveys that backed up Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz’ research. The unpublished CDC research study confirms over 2 million annual DGUs.

The gun control crowd feel that they are losing the disarmament battle and only lies, and misinformation is their way out.

So when someone asks why we need an Uzi for hunting or an AR-15 for target shooting, we should not be shamed into silence. We should be proud of our RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE. We need to know, deep in our souls, that we enjoy the shooting sports because they prepare us for that moment, that we hope will never come.

We need to recall the words of the Cullen Inquiry after the school murders in Dunblane, Scotland, where the right to self-defense did not exist.

“Firearm possession is usually justified on the grounds of sport. By definition, sport is a recreational pastime. It seems to us that those who follow a particular hobby are under an overwhelming obligation to ensure that their pursuit does not place the safety of the public at unacceptable risk.”

  • So, TO DEFEND, or NOT TO DEFEND self and family?
  • So, TO DEFEND, or NOT TO DEFEND a Constitutional Right?

There is only one reasonable answer, and that is YES, and YES! It is entirely up to us, every one of us, to continually, openly discuss, with family, friends, and neighbors, why we need the Second Amendment.

  • Yes, HUNTING is one small reason.
  • Yes, SELF DEFENSE is a reason.
  • Yes, DEFENSE FROM TYRANNY is a BIG reason.
  • Yes, IT IS A RIGHT.

About the Authors:

  • Alan J Chwick has been involved with firearms much of his life and is the Retired Managing Coach of the Freeport NY Junior (Marksmanship) Club, Division of the Freeport NY Revolver & Rifle Association, Freeport, NY. He has escaped from New York State to South Carolina and is an SC FFL ( – | TWITTER: @iNCNF
  • Joanne D Eisen, DDS (Ret.) practiced dentistry on Long Island, NY. She has collaborated and written on firearm politics for the past 30+ years. She has also escaped from New York State but to Virginia. –