Wash. Times Downplays Gun Violence With Debunked Statistic
Miller’s claim comes in response to a statement by NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, who noted that “bad things happen” as a result of firearm use. Miller compared the defensive gun use statistic, which comes from the discredited research of criminologist Gary Kleck, to the 30,000 gun deaths that occur on average annually in the United States to conclude that firearm use is actually a net social benefit.
Mr. Costas expanded on his theme by saying, “Far more often, bad things happen — including unintentional things — than things where the presence of a gun diminishes or averts danger.” He’s only telling half the story. About 30,000 people are killed by firearms, but guns are are [sic] also used to prevent crimes approximately 2 million times a year.
Kleck’s research, which purports to show that guns are used to prevent millions of crimes each year, is often touted by conservatives in media as evidence for looser regulation of firearms.
But an investigation into his research by Harvard Injury Control Research Center director David Hemenway concluded that Kleck’s study was conducted with “serious methodological deficiencies” leading the self-defense figure to be “an enormous overestimate.” In fact, Hemenway found that the defensive gun use number is so high that it is a mathematical impossibility. If Kleck’s figures are correct, victims of burglaries would have to use a gun to defend themselves over 100 percent of the time.