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Law abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals over 2.4 million times every year -- or 6,575 times a day. This means that each year, firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.
Keeping a handgun in the home for self-defense places a gun owner and his/her family in great jeopardy. Research indicates that residents of homes where a gun is present are five times more likely to experience a suicide and three times more likely to experience a homicide than residents of homes without guns. Additionally, a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household, or friend, than an intruder.
This comes from the thoroughly debunked Kellerman study. Dr. Gary Kleck, a highly respected criminologist, debunked Kellerman's 43 times more likely to get injured by a firearm if there is one in the home. Dr. Schaffer has also debunked that "study" as being suspect. Kleck's book, POINT BLANK, in which he debunked the Kellerman study, which even Kellerman admits is wrong, received the 1993 Michael Hindelang Award, the highest award that the American Society of Criminologists gives. It has been reviewed by Dr. Marvin Wolfgang, perhaps the nation's most prestigious criminologist, and he declared it be accurate, well-researched and that he would rely on Kleck's conclusions.
In 1995, there were 1,225 unintentional shooting fatalities. Of these, 181 fatalities were children 14 years of age and younger.
In 1996, more than 1300 children aged 10-19 committed suicide with firearms. Unlike suicide attempts using other methods, suicide attempts with gun are nearly always fatal, meaning a temporarily depressed teenager will never get a second chance at life. Two-thirds of all completed teenage suicides involve a firearm.
Of the 2.4 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, in 92% of these defensive uses, the mere sight of a gun or a warning shot scares off their attackers. Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker.
Of the 2.4 million self defense cases, more than 192,000 are women defending themselves against sexual abuse.
It is very hard to kill someone with a knife by accident, but very easy with a pistol. Submitted by Oskar Niklasson
REPORT 8 New England Journal of Medicine
In the week after buying a handgun, the purchaser was 57 times more likely than the general population to commit suicide, according to a study of California handgun buyers published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. The study, which followed 238,292 people who bought a handgun in California in 1991, found that men were four times more likely to commit suicide in the year after they purchased a handgun than men in general. Women, who bought just 12 percent of guns in California, faced a suicide risk 16 times higher than the rest of the female population during the first year of gun ownership, the study found. The report found that higher suicide risk persists for at least six years after a gun is bought.
When the study looked at the risk of being murdered, they found that female gun owners were twice as likely as the rest of the population to be killed by a gun. ``It may be that many women purchase handguns for protection against violence from an intimate partner and that these handguns are used by the partners against them,''
On the other hand, male gun owners were 16 percent less likely to be shot themselves and 34 percent less likely to be murdered by any means than the overall population. Because handgun owners were also less likely to die from cancer, accidents or any other cause, those statistics may reflect the fact that the average gun buyer tends to be more affluent, less likely to live in a bad neighborhood or suffer from poor health, the researchers said. But an editorial in the Journal says that the lower murder rate among male gun owners ``may represent a true protective effect of handgun purchase and needs to be considered seriously and examined further.''