HuffPo Writes Off Three-Quarter Million Defensive Handgun Uses

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Following a pattern similar to one we’ve seen in Slate, Politico Magazine, and The Washington Post, the Huffington Post is now contending that guns are used to shoot and kill bad guys only about “450” times a year, and the NRA mantra about good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns is plain hogwash.

According to the HuffPo guns are used for “justifiable homicide” about “450” times a year. To support this, they link to an FBI page which shows that law enforcement officers shot and justifiably killed about “458” people in 2013. They then contrast this with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics on accidental firearm deaths to claim that guns are more frequently involved in accidental death scenarios than in defensive gun uses (DGUs).

Again—the only DGUs that HuffPo counts are those carried out by a law enforcement officer. By comparing apples to oranges in this way, they are able to show only 450 DGUs in 2013 vs 500 accidental gun deaths. Then, they proudly pronounce the argument over by asking that we please not “waste [their] time with the nonsense about how millions of crimes are prevented each year by [good guys] walking around with guns.”

But in reality, when we look at DGUs by armed citizens throughout the country rather than by the small percentage of our population represented by law enforcement officers, the numbers are quite different. Breitbart News previously reported that a low estimate of DGUs is “760,000” annually. That works out to about 14,615 DGUs a week and about 2,082 DGUs a day.

Now we can accurately compare DGUs to accidental gun deaths, and when we do, we see that the 500 accidental gun deaths cited by the HuffPo are all but eclipsed by the low estimate of 760,000 DGUs each year.

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


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