Study: Self-Defense Gun Uses Are a Figment of the NRA’s Imagination

Raised Gun self-defense AP Photo/Seth Wenig
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

On June 17, the Violence Police Center (VPC) released a study claiming that widely accepted numbers for annual self-defense gun uses are a figment of the NRA’s imagination and have “no basis in fact.”

The study specifically attempted to disprove the figure of 2,500,000 defensive gun uses (DGUs) a year.

The Huffington Post claims the VPC study “disproves” the NRA’s argument that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. They then quote the VPC executive director, Josh Sugarmann, saying, “The NRA has staked its entire agenda on the claim that guns are necessary for self-defense, but this gun industry propaganda has no basis in fact.”

In other words, the suggestion is that the NRA dreamed the whole thing up. Guns have never been necessary for self-defense, and the decades of academic work behind Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck’s “best estimate” of 2,500,000 annual DGUs is the stuff of unicorns and rainbows.

And for people who continue to trust in the work of Kleck and others, Sugarmann has a warning: the gun you buy “is far more likely to be stolen than used in self-defense.” So it’s a catch-22: either accept the findings of the gun control study and forget about self-defense or buy a gun that someone is simply going to take away from you before you can use it to defend yourself.

What follows is just a tiny fraction of those self-defense gun uses which, apparently, have “no basis in fact”:

(Nov. 30) A Washington State mother shot an alleged home invader to save her children.

(Dec. 8) A veteran confined to a walker used a gun to stop a home invasion.

(Dec. 9) An Antioch, California, homeowner opened fire on two home invaders.

(Dec. 19) A 14-year-old shot and killed an intruder to save grandparents.

(Dec. 20) A man used a handgun in self-defense when confronted by an armed robber outside an Ohio mall. He killed the would-be robber, ending the attack.

(Dec. 26) A Good Samaritan witnessed a domestic attack, pulled a pistol, and held the man at gunpoint until police arrived.

(Dec. 27) A home invader put a gun to a woman’s neck in Memphis. The invader was shot and killed by the homeowner.

(Dec. 28) A Bucks County, Pennsylvania, resident shot an intruder who broke through the glass door of her apartment.

(Dec. 29) A home invader was shot and killed after a pregnant woman helped fight him off.

(Dec. 30) A pastor shot a man who attacked him inside the church.

(Dec. 30) A Texas fireworks stand owner used a gun to shoot and stop armed robbers.

(Jan. 9) Four armed robbers stormed a women’s gun store in Shawnee, Kansas, and the co-owner’s life was spared when her husband intervened by opening fire on the suspects.

(Jan. 10) A California homeowner survived an initial attack by a home invader, retrieved a gun, and held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived.

(Jan. 11) A man put a gun to a Papa John’s Pizza delivery woman’s head. She pulled her own gun and shot him in the face.

(Jan. 12) An armed robber in a Milwaukee barbershop was shot and killed by a patron with a concealed carry license/handgun.

(Jan. 13) An armed Taco Bell robber ordered a would-be victim to drop his pants, but the victim pulled his gun instead and shot the robber dead.

(Feb. 8) Armed citizen in line at a Sonic drive-thru was approached by three alleged robbers on foot, one of whom was allegedly armed. The citizen grabbed his own gun and opened fire, killing one of the suspects and stopping the robbery.

(Feb. 9) A Madison County, Alabama, woman pulled a gun and opened fire on four suspected home invaders. One of the alleged invaders was killed on the spot.

(Feb. 11) A Texas woman shot and killed an alleged home invader sex offender.

(Feb. 19) An Ohio widow shot and killed an alleged burglar in her home just one week after her son gave her a gun for safety.

(Feb. 23) An alleged home invader kicked in a door and charged the homeowner, who defended his life by pulling a 12-gauge shotgun and shooting the suspect in the chest, killing him.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.