Fact Check: Brady Campaign Falsely Claims Guns ‘Are Rarely Used Successfully in Self-Defense’

Self-DefenseArmed man with gun waiting his victim near the door. - stock photo
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CLAIM: The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says guns “are rarely used successfully in self-defense.”

VERDICT: False. Academic work by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck shows that, at a minimum, guns are used to protect life and property at least 760,000 times a year.

The Brady Campaign’s webpage reveals that the gun control group is setting its sights on concealed carry, claiming that the presence of guns in public only “heightens tensions and exacerbates confrontations.”

It dismisses “concealed carry” as providing an avenue for safety for Americans, claiming, “Firearms are rarely used successfully in self-defense.”

The Brady Campaign’s claim runs completely counter to the academic work of Kleck, who introduced his findings to the public in the 1990s, demonstrating a minimum of 760,000 defensive gun uses (DGUs) a year.

On February 19, 2015, Breitbart News reported that Kleck reaffirmed his findings and made clear the minimum of 760,000 DGUs a year was still viable and had yet to be disproven via empirical evidence.

Ironically, Kleck’s minimum annual DGU figure of 760,000 is much lower than figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimated upwards of 2.5 million DGUs a year.

However, on December 15, 2022, Breitbart News pointed out that the CDC allegedly pulled the DGU information off its website after being pressured to do so by gun control activists.

Whether one looks at the academic work of Kleck or the DGU information scrubbed from the CDC website, the verdict is the same: The Brady Campaign’s claim that guns “are rarely used successfully in self-defense” is false.

WATCH — AWR Hawkins: 13 Times Women Used the Second Amendment for Self-Defense in Two Weeks


AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio, and a pro-staffer for Pulsar Night Vision. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010 and holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Beef is his favorite vegetable. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.


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