Violence Policy Center Targets Women's Choice

For Immediate Release December 2, 1994

This time women are the target of the latest Violence Policy Center (VPC) misinformation campaign. VPC has attempted to repackage familiar, but long-discredited, research to promote its extremist agenda to remove guns from the hands of law-abiding, mentally competent adult women. The salient deceptions in their latest release, "Female Persuasion," are:

1) distortion of the FBI data on "acquaintance and domestic homicide"

To the FBI, dueling drug dealers who kill each other are "acquaintances." Victims who knew the attacker that lived in their building or neighborhood are also "acquaintances." To the FBI, ex-spouses, pimps, and abusive husbands are "domestic" contacts. VPC has perverted the definition of such "acquaintance and domestic homicide" into false, but politically useful, imagery of violence amongst "friends and family." That vicious criminals have acquaintances and prey upon their girlfriends and relatives does _not_ mean that such predators are like the "friends and family" that you and I know - or that good people are driven to bloody violence by a gun in the home.

Almost all the "relatives" killed each year are the very same men, well-known to the police, that have been brutalizing their wives, girlfriends, and children for years - those men are killed in self-defense. Would it be more "politically correct" if those women or children were killed by their abusers? Should we leave women and their children helpless dialing 911?

Law professor Don Kates has written, "Far from being ordinary, otherwise law-abiding citizens, those who commit murders, as every study of homicide shows, are real criminals with long histories of violence against the people around them." [1]

2) denial of the protective benefits of guns

As ten concordant studies show, every year as many as 2.5 million Americans use guns to protect themselves, their families, and their livelihoods - resulting in lives saved, injuries prevented, medical costs saved from the deaths and injuries averted, and property protected - as many as 65 lives protected for every life lost to a gun - 5 lives protected per minute. [2] Many lives and much money are saved by guns in the hands of women and other good citizens.

Data from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics show that guns are the _safest_ and _most_ _effective_ means of defense. Defense with a gun results in fewer injuries (17%) than resisting with less powerful means (knives, 40%; other weapon, 22%; physical force, 51%; evasion, 35%; etc.) and in fewer injuries than not resisting at all (25%).Compared with any other means of defense, rapists and other vicious predators are far less likely to complete their attack when the innocent defender uses a gun. [3]

To suggest that science has proven that defending oneself or one's family with a gun is dangerous, VPC is repackaging Dr. Kellermann's long-discredited claim: "a gun owner is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder." [4] This fallacy is one of the most misused slogans of the anti-self-defense lobby. Nationally good citizens use guns about seven to ten times as frequently as the police to repel crime and apprehend criminals and they do it with a better safety record than the police. [3]

The honest measure of the protective benefits of guns are the lives saved, the injuries prevented, the medical costs saved, and the property protected - not Kellermann's burglar or rapist body count. Only 0.1% (1 in a thousand) of the defensive uses of guns results in the death of the predator. [3] Any study, such as Kellermann' "43 times" fallacy, that only counts bodies will expectedly underestimate the benefits of gun a thousand-fold. Think for a minute. Would anyone suggest that the only measure of the benefit of law enforcement is the number of people killed by police? Of course not. The honest measure of the benefits of guns are the lives saved, the injuries prevented, the medical costs saved by deaths and injuries averted, and the property protected. 65 lives protected by guns for every life lost to a gun. [2]

Kellermann recently downgraded his estimate to "2.7 times," [5] but he persisted in discredited methodology. He used a method that cannot distinguish between "cause" and "effect." His method would be like finding more diet drinks in the refrigerators of fat people and then concluding that diet drinks "cause" obesity.

Also, Kellermann studied groups with high rates of violent criminality, alcoholism, drug addiction, abject poverty, and domestic abuse . From such a poor and violent study group he attempted to generalize his findings to normal homes. Interestingly, when Dr. Kellermann was interviewed he stated that, if his wife were attacked, he would want her to have a gun for protection. [6] Apparently, when it comes to his loved ones, Dr. Kellermann places no credence in his own research.

Victim disarmament is NOT a policy that saves lives

The junk science upon which VPC relies to promote its deceptive, extremist agenda has been long-discredited. VPC's fallacies, factoids, and contrived rank-orderings cannot obscure the truth - guns are the great equalizer for women, the physically challenged, and others at greatest risk from big, brutal attackers.

Vicious predators who ignore laws against murder, rape, and drug trafficking routinely overlook gun control laws. No amount of wishful thinking will make these predators obey the next gun control law. It is only honest citizens who obey gun laws, so gun control only disarms we victims. Victim disarmament is _not_ a policy that saves lives.

If gun control "saves only one life," but _costs many lives,_ what then? What does save lives is allowing mentally-competent, law-abiding adults access to the safest and most effective means of protection - guns. [7]

It's a matter of choice.


1. Kates DB. Guns, Murders, and the Constitution: A Realistic Assessment of Gun Control. San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy. 1990.

2. Suter E. "Guns in the Medical Literature - A Failure of Peer Review." Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. March 1994; 83: 133-48.

3. Kleck G. Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. 1991.

4. Kellermann AL. and Reay DT. "Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearms-Related Deaths in the Home." N Engl J. Med 1986. 314: 1557-60.

5. Kellermann AL, Rivara FP, Rushforth NB et al. "Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home." N Engl J Med. 1993; 329(15): 1084-91.

6. Japenga A. "Gun Crazy." San Francisco Examiner. This World supplement. April 3, 1994. p. 7-13 at 11.

7. Cramer C and Kopel D. "Shall Issue": The New Wave of Concealed Handgun Permit Laws. Golden CO: Independence Institute Issue Paper. October 17, 1994.


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