Gun owners more likely to kill than use arms in self defense – study

Reuters / Jason Redmond
A gun control advocacy organization called Violence Policy Center has released a study that finds people are more likely to use a gun to kill someone without cause than for self-defense or protection of the innocent.

The study, which was released Wednesday, shows that gun owners committed only 259 “justifiable homicides” involving a gun, compared to 8,342 criminal gun homicides in 2012. This brings the ratio to about 32 criminal gun homicides for every one justifiable gun homicide.

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Justifiable homicide is defined by the FBI as the“killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.”

Victims, when confronted with violent crime, only fired a shot or threatened to use a firearm 0.8 percent of the time, the study claimed.

The study found that 50.6 percent of those committing justifiable homicides were white, while 46.1 percent were black, while the victims of such homicides were 37.8 percent white and 58.7 percent black.

The question that remains, however, is whether the risk that a potential crime victim may be in possession of a firearm or use one in self-defense is a significant deterrent to violent criminals.

Professors James D. Wright and Peter Rossi of theUniversity of Massachusettsfound, in asurveyof felons published in 1994, that 81 percent of criminals believe that a “smart” criminal will know if a potential victim is armed. Additionally, 74 percent indicated that burglars avoid occupied dwellings out of fear of being shot, and 57 percent fear armed citizens more than they feared police.

Professors Wright and Rossi initially believed that strict gun control deterred crime.