Armed Victims Just as Likely To be Injured During Assaults as Unarmed Victims, Study Finds

Evidently, while having a gun during an armed robbery or other violent crime may help prevent property loss, it doesn’t do much in the way of stopping you from getting injured.

According to a study published in Preventive Medicine, less than one percent of crime victims use a firearm to defend themselves, and moreover, those that do are no more likely to escape unscathed.

Harvard health policy professor David Hemenway and University of Vermont economist Sara Solnick analyzed 14,145 crime incidents where the victim was present at the time of the crime. Of those victims, only 127 defensively used a gun, or just a hair under one percent.

Approximately 4.2 percent of the victims that were unarmed sustained injuries, while armed victims sustained injuries at a rate of 4.1 percent, which for statistical purposes is virtually identical.

However, the data for the study was pulled from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which is known for consistently generating far lower DGU estimates than other surveys. On top of that, the study authors note that these comparisons may be a bit misleading.

“Instances of self-defense gun use may differ in many ways, including ways we could not control for, from instances where the victim used other forms of self-defense or took no self-protective action,”

The study did reveal that using a gun defensively during an assault is strongly correlated to reducing property loss. Those victims who took no protective action sustained an 85 percent property loss, while those victims who did take protective action only sustained a 39 percent property loss.

The study is surrounded in controversy over its sourcing of information and how it was collected, and many argue that it’s entirely invalid.

(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Bill December 22, 2017, 11:34 pm

    A gun should not be produced to defuse a situation. If a gun needs to be produced it is because life needs protecting not property. Property is replaceable. A gun shouldn’t be produced unless the intent is that it be used. Guns are good at stopping a threat if used properly and by properly, I mean by eliminating the threat. A wounded assailent is still a threat. This is why Police are taught to aim at center mass for that reason. If you can’t do that, you should not be carrying a gun.

  • calvin jackson October 7, 2017, 1:12 am

    PrevenTAtive Medicine? Are you serious? How about Preventive? This article already lost all credibility.
    Or should I say CrediTAbility

  • Chris September 9, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Even if the study is surrounded in controversy over its sourcing of information and how it was collected it sounds like just over 4% were injured but the individuals who used a defensive gun had a 46% reduction in property loss verses people who did not use a gun? well sign me up because by their accounts you have the same chance of getting hurt but a much lower chance of your property being stolen. Their study also does not take into consideration all the encounters that are not reported where an individual had presented a gun and the situation was then de-escalated. Not only that but let’s say the property is your identity in your wallet, your phone or computer. Not only do you have a greater potential for property loss without using a defensive handgun but a greater risk of identity theft due to the loss of your property that contained your identity. What about concealed carry holders who have thwarted crimes because they have intervened and not just crimes of property loss but crimes of losing life and limb.

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