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When it comes to legal gun ownership, there is a broad spectrum of belief. One extreme argues that guns in the hands of gun owners are crimes waiting to happen and when law-abiding Americans own guns, it makes others feel less safe. The other end claims that legal gun ownership is the key to personal protection and without it, Americans have no way to defend themselves against criminals who would do them harm.
With so many differing viewpoints on the subject, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. That’s why we’re presenting you with three research and data-driven statistics about gun ownership and carrying firearms.
#1: Criminals Fear Armed Civilians
Criminals don’t just fear armed civilians; they go out of their way to avoid them.
According to research completed by the U.S. Department of Justice, private gun ownership influences the behavior of criminals. In this study, over 1,800 imprisoned felons across the country were surveyed on their opinions of firearms.(1) Here is what they learned:
One-third of criminals questioned had encountered an armed victim. The study found 34% of the felons had been scared off, shot at, wounded, or even captured by a gun-owning victim.
56% of those interviewed agreed that criminals intentionally avoid armed victims. If criminals know the individual has a weapon, they chose to target another victim.
Basically, criminals fear the armed civilian more than law enforcement.
There are multiple reasons for this, but the most common include: police are rarely at the crime scene in a timely manner and they are required to follow “policy and procedure.” On the other hand, the average civilian does not receive procedure defense training like the police, so can—and will—act in whatever way they deem necessary to protect themselves.
#2: Gun Ownership Can Increase Safety
Gallup polls show 63% of Americans believe having a gun in the house makes it a safer place to be.(2) And, according to Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, they’re right.
Kleck and Gertz completed groundbreaking (although often ignored) research into defensive gun use, and found that there are at least 2.2 million defensive gun uses in the U.S. each year.(3)
And, in a similar study, Kleck concludes that using a weapon for self-defense and resisting crime is the victim’s safest option, showing victim injury and crime completion are lowest when the victim is armed and confronts the perpetrator.(4) In cases of assault, only 12% of victims were injured when using a gun for self-defense, opposed to the 25.5% injured when trying nonviolent tactics, and the 27.3% injured when not resisting at all.
#3: Civilian Gun Ownership Makes Communities Feel Safer
The majority of civilians who own and carry firearms do so for self-defense and personal protection; not to become heroes.
Yet a good guy with a gun is not a myth when it comes to public shootings. These individuals can stop shooters and significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries. The 2017 Sutherland Springs Church shooting and the 2019 shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ brought the reality of a good guy with a gun into the public eye, but armed civilians have stopped mass casualties many times before, helping make communities safer.
The police agree. When surveyed, almost 90% believe having an armed civilian onsite during an active shooting would decrease casualties. In this same study, when given options on how to reduce public shootings, law enforcement officers’ #1 answer was “more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians, which topped other answers, like more armed guards/paid security personnel, improved background screening to determine mental wellness of gun purchasers for gun purchasers, and more regulatory legislation on assault weapons and ammo magazines.”(5)
Now that you have the facts, it’s easy to see how carrying a weapon and preparing for any situation can be essential to protecting yourself and your family.
Regardless of your stance, U.S. LawShield understands your concern and we’re here to keep you protected and informed.