Letter to the editor: Real gun numbers
The letter “Progressivism ‘bull in the china shop’” repeating long-discredited inferences about guns and self-defense should not go unchallenged.
The writer claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is suppressing evidence that legal defensive gun uses (DGUs) outnumber criminal uses by almost four times, that to beat a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun. But what data exist show no such thing. One Harvard study suggests that DGUs occurred in only 0.9 percent of crimes between 2007 and 2011. Another researcher at Duke estimates a maximum of 100,000 DGUs per year. Even if the latter figure is correct, that’s only 8 percent of the 1.2 million violent crimes reported to the FBI in 2016, not four times more.
The inflated DGU number depends on careless research methods and statistical fallacies — using non-random telephone surveys, accepting self-reports in the absence of a reliable definition of a deterred crime and overestimating the impact of false negatives while discounting false positives (i.e., cherry-picking the data).
Far from CDC withholding data, it has been barred by Congress from gathering more systematic evidence on gun violence.
Eugene V. Torisky Jr.