In this open thread Ozy will join us to discuss his diary from January, which focused on four papers, including the 1995 survey of defensive gun use by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. To add Ozy's original diaries to your stream, click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to Ozy's name.
by Ozy on (Jan 30, 2013) (republished with permission)
So, what number are we talking about? 2.5 million. That's the often quoted number of annual DGU, usually presented as is, without qualifications or error bars leading one to believe that this is an indication of lives saved, injuries avoided, or at the very least violent crimes prevented due to the presence of a gun by the potential victim.
This is a huge number. An unbelievably huge number...
... this will mostly be an examination of work by others and an attempt to figure out whether any of the numbers make sense, and whether they can or should be used to inform policy.
The studies I will refer to are the following:
I'll try to summarize the main arguments of each study as best as possible, but for more details, the links are provided above.
The 2.5 million DGU number comes from Kleck 95, and it is based on 56 positive responses (weighted to 66) from a pool of 5000 surveyed. The DGU number comes from taking 66/5000 and multiplying by the number of adults in the US at the time (~200 million). Two common critiques to this methodology come from a consideration of 'false positives', and using 'external validation' to compare against other crime statistics.
Kleck's response is twofold, that the incidences he's measuring may not reflect typical crimes (e.g. trespassing or other non-violent crime or threat), and DGU incidences may be significantly under-reported because of illegal gun use, or other illegal activities. So, what the heck is he actually measuring?
I mean, when we're talking about trying to assess the positive social utility of DGU, scaring kids off your property by flashing a shotgun doesn't automatically go in the 'plus' category in my mind. Indeed, if you look at Table 3 in Kleck 95, you find that almost 50% of the DGU he measured involved no actual threat posed to the defender. WTF?
In fact, the primary theme that Kleck 97 uses to answer Hemenway's objections is that there is vast under-reporting of DGU because they are usually used illegally and/or in conjunction with illegal activity on the part of the defender.
…Continue reading A closer look at DGU numbers
ARMED RESISTANCE TO CRIME: THE PREVALENCE AND NATURE OF SELF-DEFENSE WITH A GUN
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) Guns and Violence Symposium, vol. 86, no. 1, 1995, pp. 150-187.
SURVEY RESEARCH AND SELF-DEFENSE GUN USE: AN EXPLANATION OF EXTREME OVERESTIMATES
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) vol. 87, 1997, pp. 1430-1445.
Degrading Scientific Standards to Get the Defensive Gun Use Estimate Down
Journal on Firearms, Vol. 11, 1997, pp 77-138.
(Professor Gary Kleck responds to critics of the National Self-Defense Survey)
Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey
Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1998, pp 111-131.
|Hugh Jim Bissell reported on defensive gun use for the Firearm Law and Policy group in a five part series. To add Hugh Jim Bissell's original diaries to your stream, click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to HJB's name.
Part I reviewed defensive gun use as described in the Center for Disease Control review of gun violence in America. Part II discusses the many difficulties in defining and determining a proper and legal defensive use of a gun. Part III reviewed the well-known McDowall & Wiersema 1994 study that estimated the incidence of defensive gun use in America. This study evaluated results of the National Crime Victimization Study which is collected by the US Census Bureau. Part IV reviewed the well-known Kleck & Gertz 1995 study that also estimated the incidence of defensive gun use in America. This study evaluated results of The National Self Defense Survey, which was designed by Dr. Kleck and conducted a polling research company owned by Dr. Mertz. Part V, HJB compared the two studies and analyzed why the resulting defensive gun use estimates they reported are so different.
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