How Gun Possession For Defense Backfires

Think that carrying a handgun could help protect you in a high-crime area, if, god forbid, someone attempts to rob or assault you? In fact the opposite could be true.

The American Journal of Public Health discusses a new study from the University of Pennsylvania which shows that in cases of assault, victims who are in possession of a gun at the time are a whopping 4.5 times more likely to get shot than victims who are unarmed. And, “In cases where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45.”

The conclusion, obviously, it that the idea of walking around with a concealed firearm for the purpose of self-defense is nonsensical. Not that this is going to change many gun owners’ minds.

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  • Deze1

    I would like to see the numbers on who is assaulted and robbed more often, armed or unarmed citizens.

    • DonaldD

      Exactly what I was going to say.
      How many possible assaults does open-carry actually deter.

      • Scott Brown

        How many possible assaults does open-carry actually deter, DonaldD? Probably all of them. You’re a sniveling druggie desperate for a fix, or a tough guy who just wants to pound on somebody. Who you gonna select? A guy or gal with a Glock on their belt and a gleam in their eye, or an apprehensive law-abider scurrying home at dusk to the relative safety of his/her apartment, hoping to get there before you pounce?

        There obviously can be no accurate stats, but get real.

  • 2ndAmmendment

    This is stupid, so your assertion is that everyone should give up their guns so the bad guys with guns wont shoot them? Does the stupid study say how many people were saved since the attention was on the individual with the gun for self protection? Sounds to me like they are doing a public service.

  • Steve Koch

    A profoundly stupid conclusion, serving the weapon-paranoia of feminized boy-men and their masculine female counterparts. Why discredit yourselves with such ignorance?

    • DonaldD

      Quite an insult coming from someone commenting from a forum that consistently posts news items relating to the current police state and the dangers that presents to our civil liberties. Please- continue rallying to criminalize law-abiding citizens. The black markets will flourish even more and the pendulum will swing even farther towards empowering criminals and corrupt, maverick cops. I'll take a little name calling to keep my gun rights- I know you are but what am I…LOL

  • Roberto Monfrerto

    Don't walk through a high crime area and you wouldn't have to worry about this.

    It doesn't surprise me. You pull a gun on someone trying to rob you and 5 more people pop out with guns to defend the robber.

    If it were a home invasion, I'd beg to differ.

  • http://johnnyb93.blogspot.com/ johnbonanno

    The thing about owning a gun isn't about defending yourself. It's all about the action, one way or the other.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PDDVWRQVUPMKRGHURIEQVNYWHQ Sean

    give a victim a gun and he's still a victim.
    it takes a whole mindset, skill, and will to not be subjugated by any man to rise above being a victim.
    a gun doesn't make someone a warrior any more than hammer makes a man a carpenter or a wrench makes a man a mechanic.

    • Polymorpheous

      this. so very this.
      if one is going to carry, one should have the training to react properly to whatever given situation.
      this article reeks of propaganda. i'm very pro 2nd. the idea that the same government that brought us the war on terror and the bailouts, and the police departments who beat various minorities for various reasons, should only have firearms is disturbing. a thorough and reflective reading of the 2nd amendment ,in it's entirety, is necessary for all americans. (as well as the other 9 amendment in the BOR) a disarmed america will pave the way for what the right believe is the communist takeover and what the left believe about a facist state. either way… our republic is in trouble.

  • bob

    This data is misinterpreted. How I interpret it is that gun-carrying gang bangers (who tend to carry guns bought illegally) are more likely to be victims of assault while doing their gang-related things than some old grandma, who may or may not pack a gun. Criminals carry concealed guns, regular people open carry or do not carry at all. All this is saying is that criminals are more likely to be assaulted.

  • judy_hollister

    Talk about DisInfo….

  • abiker1981

    Typical, for years police and the rest of the establishment has told us “not to fight back or resist” in the event that we are vicitms of crimes. However, when the facts are accurately reported, fighting back greatly increases your odds of survival and also act a deterrent to crime.

  • tonyviner

    I do not own a gun nor am I a big fan of guns but if the situation arose where I thought that I needed a gun (for hunting, protection, etc.) I would have one. I live in the midwest and have to constantly listen to people talk about how so-and-so is going to take away their guns. Guess what morons, you have something that can stop them from taking your guns. You have guns. Now I hate to encourage violence, especially in these types but Jesus Fucking Christ!

  • Scott Brown

    I'd like to see the data the University of PA based their conclusions on because, on the face of it, such a study makes no sense, being of necessity incomplete. For instance, I was not polled, nor others I know who've had similar experiences to mine. If the stats they were working from were official police records, then a whole bunch of data were left out, because in my experience people who escape safely from armed encounters through the use of a firearm (licensed or not, concealed or not) don't run off and call the police. The first one I was ever in I did call the police, because there were others involved (an employee and a customer, in my store–I was 22). After an hour or so of being treated like a perp by the police while the bad guys ran up a side street unhindered and disappeared, I decided never again. I've been in a few other situations since (yes, I've lived in high-crime areas when I could not afford otherwise, and many low-crime areas are targeted by criminals–life in the big city is a crap shoot, I've been accosted by a gang in the financial district of Boston in broad daylight). Being armed has more than once–that I know of–saved me from being a victim, and I've never again called the police. As many a cop will tell you, while acting as a deterrent by their occasional visibility, police are but rarely lucky enough to stop a crime in progress, they do cleanup and followup (maybe). If you don't choose to be a victim, you will go armed (if with nothing else, with a can of 20 ft. stream wasp spray, uncapped, safety tab removed, test shots fired downwind). And Sean's got it exactly right, if you aren't ready, willing, and able, there's no point in being armed. This translates to basic training, determined pre-thought-out mindset, and practice. I'd bet that the majority of people in this study had little or no training, and/or no mental conditioning to kill or be killed, and little practice drawing and firing. That's the ugly reality of it, folks, it's not a TV show or a video game. If you aren't ready to shoot-to-kill, you may well be killed. Or you can elect to live like a rabbit. Coyotes eat rabbits for breakfast.

    So, I wonder: How many of those U of PA people would rather face knife-wielding robber/rapists with a supplicating smile, or a gun loaded with hollowpoint ammunition? Heck, they could always hold up a copy of the study, or the American Journal of Public Health as a shield, or whip out their laptop and show their attackers this moronic bit of nonsensical drivel. That might stop the bad guys in their tracks. Assuming they read English.

    I'm sixty years old, never owned a shoot-'em-up video game in my life and find most TV shoot-outs laughable, but have owned and carried concealed in four states, valid currently for 20. Where I live now, you have to take two days training, recertify for proficiency every two years (in my case, listen to lectures and get over-the-shoulder training from a guy who's killed in the line of duty, watch videos of people being shot and stills of those who've been shot, learn a little about the anatomy of killing). I've worked in contract and corporate security and security management in one of my careers, known a few law enforcement professionals. Possibly I know something about this subject of personal defense.

    Anyone telling you that you can defend youself and yours best by voting and paying taxes, running around with a gym whistle or your hand on your car keys for a weapon…or staying indoors after dark like a good law-abiding citizen…is deluded, lying to you, or both. For whatever reason. Articles like this serve no one but disarming politicians who themselves are generally surrounded by armed, trained, bodyguards. Which ought to tell you something.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    I know how it is, that hunk of precision shootin metal feels good in your hands. I've shot quite a few guns that friends owned (legally) .357, 9mm, Glock, shot guns, rifles etc. they are a real blast. (pun intended) But target shooting is not what guns are for. If you carry a gun, it's assumed your willing to use it right? Otherwise, why carry it? So maybe, in a more ideal world, people might consider the implications of gun ownership before they go out and buy a deadly weapon to “protect themselves”. This is NOT an argument for Gun Control.
    Just a stab at common sense. Guns tend to cause death when they are used properly…… and sometimes the shooter gets shot. Bad guys and good guys the same.

  • nysecjd

    20/20 recently ran an experiment and aired the videotaped results: they gave a gun (secretly loaded with paint pellets instead of bullets) to a student and sent the student off to class. Several minutes into the class, armed “gunmen” burst in, “shot” the professor and started “shooting” at the student audience. In every case, all the students ducked behind the auditorium-style tables and escaped harm – except the one student with the gun – and in EVERY SINGLE CASE that one student, were the guns and bullets real, would have been shot and killed. Some of the students said they had been trained at shooting ranges and had used guns “all their lives.”

    The fact is, most law-abiding citizens WILL hesitate, whereas the perpetrators of the crime will not. I don't think anyone is arguing this as grounds for scrapping the Second Amendment; they are simply pointing out the truth – however inconvenient you all may find it. Most big-city DA's offices have known this for years (I've worked in two of them). So, you all go believe what you like; one day some of you can continue your denial from your jail cells, hospital beds and slabs at the morgue.

    • Scott Brown

      Didn't see that. Is it on the Internet?

      One kid against armed gunmen plural, or just one? How about if he'd taken evasive cover instead of standing up like an idiot? How about if the teacher and ALL the students had guns and were trained in their use by professional instructors? It bears repeating: One country with the lowest gun crime rates in the world is one where an armed citizenry is mandatory: Switzerland.

      Continue “[our] denial from our jails cells?” If anyone's looking for a good deterrent to rapid legitimate self-defense, I guess that certainly would count as one. And I reiterate what I said earlier, there are no accurate statistics on the number of situations in which an armed citizen successfully deterred an attacker or attackers. Who needs the hassle of explaining it all to the authorities?

  • Cole S.

    Guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people. Besides guns in peoples hands do more good then bad. If it wasn’t for that amendment then we wouldn’t be a country right now.

    • Scott Brown

      I fear we aren’t a country right now. My carrying guns for forty years doesn’t make this any less true. I’ve been in gun situations and never had to shoot anyone, in large part because I do carry. But I’m quite ready and willing to shoot to kill this second if it will keep me and those dear to me alive and safe.

      You’re quite right about the Second Amendment, Cole. Our first battle as a fledgling nation against an oppressive foreign power was fought, literally, over the right to keep and bear arms. Not some theory, our forebears were defending actual guns and ammo. I suggest all American patriots be prepared to do the same.

  • Cole S.

    Guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people. Besides guns in peoples hands do more good then bad. If it wasn’t for that amendment then we wouldn’t be a country right now.

  • Cole S.

    Guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people. Besides guns in peoples hands do more good then bad. If it wasn’t for that amendment then we wouldn’t be a country right now.

  • Scott Brown

    How many possible assaults does open-carry actually deter, DonaldD? Probably all of them. You’re a sniveling druggie desperate for a fix, or a tough guy who just wants to pound on somebody. Who you gonna select? A guy or gal with a Glock on their belt and a gleam in their eye, or an apprehensive law-abider scurrying home at dusk to the relative safety of his/her apartment, hoping to get there before you pounce?

    There obviously can be no accurate stats, but get real.

  • Scott Brown

    I fear we aren’t a country right now. My carrying guns for forty years doesn’t make this any less true. I’ve been in gun situations and never had to shoot anyone, in large part because I do carry. But I’m quite ready and willing to shoot to kill this second if it will keep me and those dear to me alive and safe.

    You’re quite right about the Second Amendment, Cole. Our first battle as a fledgling nation against an oppressive foreign power was fought, literally, over the right to keep and bear arms. Not some theory, our forebears were defending actual guns and ammo. I suggest all American patriots be prepared to do the same.

  • Scott Brown

    I fear we aren’t a country right now. My carrying guns for forty years doesn’t make this any less true. I’ve been in gun situations and never had to shoot anyone, in large part because I do carry. But I’m quite ready and willing to shoot to kill this second if it will keep me and those dear to me alive and safe.

    You’re quite right about the Second Amendment, Cole. Our first battle as a fledgling nation against an oppressive foreign power was fought, literally, over the right to keep and bear arms. Not some theory, our forebears were defending actual guns and ammo. I suggest all American patriots be prepared to do the same.