1-3 Guns are not used millions of times each year in self-defense
4. Most purported self-defense gun uses are gun uses in escalating arguments and are both socially undesirable and illegal
5. Firearms are used far more often to intimidate than in self-defense.
6. Guns in the home are used more often to intimidate intimates than to thwart crime.
Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, we investigated how and when guns are used in the home. We found that guns in the home are used more often to frighten intimates than to thwart crime; other weapons are far more commonly used against intruders than are guns.
7. Adolescents are far more likely to be threatened with a gun than to use one in self-defense.
8. Criminals who are shot are typically the victims of crime
Using data from a survey of detainees in a Washington D.C. jail, we worked with a prison physician to investigate the circumstances of gunshot wounds to these criminals.
We found that one in four of these detainees had been wounded, in events that appear unrelated to their incarceration. Most were shot when they were victims of robberies, assaults and crossfires. Virtually none report being wounded by a "law-abiding citizen."
9-10. Few criminals are shot by decent law abiding citizens
Using data from surveys of detainees in six jails from around the nation, we worked with a prison physician to determine whether criminals seek hospital medical care when they are shot. Criminals almost always go to the hospital when they are shot. To believe fully the claims of millions of self-defense gun uses each year would mean believing that decent law-abiding citizens shot hundreds of thousands of criminals. But the data from emergency departments belie this claim, unless hundreds of thousands of wounded criminals are afraid to seek medical care. But virtually all criminals who have been shot went to the hospital, and can describe in detail what happened there.
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