A new study attempts to delegitimize the idea that gun owners use firearms for self-defense by comparing justifiable homicides involving guns to criminal homicides, a tactic that a gun expert called "useless."
In 2012, gun owners were involved in 259 justifiable homicides, a number much smaller than the 8,342 criminal homicides involving a gun during the same year, according to the study released by the Violence Policy Center on Wednesday.
The data also shows that there were 1,108 justifiable homicides involving a gun from 2008-2012, compared to 42,419 criminal homicides.
But Dr. John Lott, Jr., founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, told TheBlaze that comparing justifiable and criminal homicides is a "stupid, old tactic" that's been used by anti-gun advocates for years.
Still, an anti-gun group is already claiming the study proves the idea that Americans use firearms for “self-defense” is a “myth.”
Reacting to the study, Julia Wyman, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, said “guns do not make our families or communities safer.”
The study concluded:
The idea that firearms are frequently used in self-defense is the primary argument that the gun lobby and firearms industry use to expand the carrying of firearms into an ever-increasing number of public spaces and even to prevent the regulation of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Yet this argument is hollow and the assertions false. When analyzing the most reliable data available, what is most striking is that in a nation of more than 300 million guns, how rarely firearms are used in self-defense.
Lott said the study's conclusions have "serious" problems.
"Firstly, the justifiable homicide rate is useless," he said, claiming that only about 1 percent of police departments report justifiable homicides by police and civilian justifiable homicides get reported even less.
The number of justified homicides involving gun owners is likely much higher, he added, but that's not all that's wrong with the study.
"This discussion also completely ignores the times that a defensive gun use stopped a victim from being harmed even when the criminal wasn’t killed," Lott explained. "By any measure, less than one percent of defensive gun uses result in the criminal attacker being killed or wounded. This claim completely ignores all those benefits and assumes that they are zero."
Finally, Lott argued, for the Violence Policy Center's assertions to be true, it would mean that banning all guns would dramatically decrease murders -- a claim he said is "completely false."
"Every single time -- and not just in places like Washington or Chicago, but around the world -- that you’ve had a complete ban on guns, murder rates have gone up," he claimed, citing analysis by the Crime Research Prevention Center.
You can review the study's findings here.
(H/T: The Hill)