" "According to noted criminologist Dr. Gary Kleck of Florida State University, every year some 650,000 Americans use firearms to thwart criminal assault. That's 12,500 a week." Even Paul Blackman, research coordinator for the N.R.A., concedes that the advertisement "stretches the data." He adds, "I don't know of any criminological study that has tried to quantify the number of lives saved based on the number of guns that were successfully used for protection." Kleck says his study did not consider the question of lives saved. Nor did he conclude, as the N.R.A. claims, that a crime or an assault had been "thwarted" in each of his estimated 645,000 (the ad upped it to 650,000) annual instances of a protective use of a gun. Kleck notes that his study may have included incidents in which a homeowner merely heard noisy youths outside his house, then shouted, "Hey, I've got a gun!" and never saw any possible attacker. Still, Kleck estimates that an assailant or the defender actually fired a handgun in nearly half the cases. If so, 322,000 incidents each year involved great danger, and the potential victims credited their guns with protecting them. That is about ten times the number who die from guns annually in the U.S. "It is possible that guns save more lives than they cost," Kleck says. His numbers are based on a 1981 poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. It asked 1,228 U.S. voters whether in the previous five years any member of their household had "used a handgun, even if it was not fired, for self-protection or for the protection of property." Roughly 4% (about 50 people) said they had done so. Projecting that percentage onto the number of U.S. households in the five years covered by the poll (1976-81), Kleck came up with the estimate that handguns had been used protectively 3,224,880 times, or 645,000 a year. Comparing that with surveys that included rifles and shotguns, he estimated that all types of guns are used defensively about a million times a year." Further the UCR is an annual FBI publication that summarizes the incidence and rate of reported CRIMES throughout the US. The NCVS or National Crime Victimization Survey is handled by the BJS. NEITHER of these reports are worth their weight in salt as any attempt to quantify crime is impossible, and self reporting is plagued with problems. There are any number of sources, studies, and proposals as to the actual number of crimes thwarted by gun owners annually, you just need to be smart enough to ask the right questions.
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