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To L.A. Times (Reality Check!)

by J. Neil Schulman

Originally published on this website June 10, 2000

To L.A. Times Editors:

Samantha Kimmel, in Letters to the Times, June 5, 2000, responds to John Lott's June 1 Op-Ed, writing, "Gun advocates like to cook statistics, making it seem that the very few incidents of people defending themselves with guns outweigh the dangers of having guns taken away and used against them, or escalating the situation into a shooting. It's simply not true ..."

At what point did unsupported bombastic assertions by people with no credentials gain equal credibility to the research results of professional criminologists such as John Lott?

Lott's source for the comparative injury statistic is the 1979-1985 National Crime Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, which shows that a robbery victim who resists attack with a firearm is half as likely to be injured as a victim who either offers no resistance or resists using any other weapon (17.4% injured as opposed to 33.2% injured). Further, an assault victim who resists with a firearm stands only a 40% as great chance of injury as a victim who either doesn’t resist at all or resists using any other weapon (12.1% as opposed to 29.9% injured). Furthermore, the 1993 National Self Defense Survey that found American gun owners use their privately held firearms 2.5 million times each year in successful defenses against a criminal attack was not only peer reviewed by Marvin Wolfgang, perhaps the most respected (and pro-gun-ban) criminologist of his time, who found the survey's methodology flawless, but the results were replicated in a national survey conducted in 1994 by the Police Foundation and sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, which approximated 2.73 million defensive gun users in the previous year.

J. Neil Schulman
Author Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns & Self Control Not Gun Control
Webmaster, The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock


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