Friday, 19 October, 2007 1:43 PM
America's Biggest Self-Defense
Home invasions. Rapes.
Carjackings. Murders. Everyday our local and national news reports
that these heinous crimes are being committed all around us.
What is rarely reported
is the number of crimes which are prevented when people use guns
in self-defense. According to research by Florida State University
and other universities, an estimated 2.5 million ordinary Americans
use a gun to protect themselves from criminals each year. In the
majority of cases, no shots are ever fired; the mere act of wielding
a weapon is enough to deter the criminal and stop the intended offense.
Even more interesting
is to find out who these gun-carrying citizens are. They’re
average everyday people; level-headed, responsible citizens that
you would sit beside in church on Sunday or play golf with on weekends.
So why are most of us stunned when we see the results of these studies?
“At first glance
the statistics might seem high,” says Chris Bird, a gun-rights
activist and author of the new book, “Thank God I Had a Gun:
True Accounts of Self-Defense (Privateer Publications, 2007). “But
you must understand the dynamics involved. For example, most people
who defend themselves with a gun don’t report the incident
to law enforcement officials. And unless a criminal is actually
shot, you probably won’t hear about it in the news.”
A former investigative
reporter, Bird believes there are additional reasons these incidents
go under-reported. “Fear deters many people from reporting
a self-defense confrontation,” says Bird. “Can you imagine
being arrested for protecting yourself? ‘He-said, she-said’
type cases are typically left to a prosecutor’s discretion.
That means the person defending himself could wind up on the wrong
side of the law.”
Another factor is the
location of the attempted crime. People are much more hesitant to
involve the police when the incident occurs outside of their home
or off their property. Laws vary from state to state, but most people
don’t want to be subjected to interpretations of gun use laws
that could find them at fault, even though they were protecting
Researchers at Saint
Louis University have taken defensive gun use studies even further.
They’ve tried to determine the impact of armed self-defense
on the crime rate. According to the study, civilians kill an average
of 299 felons per year (88% with guns) in cases of justifiable homicide.
Based on the shooting deaths of those felons, researchers estimate
that there are approximately 400,000 fewer violent crimes each year.
“One of the best-kept
secrets in America is how often and effectively ordinary citizens
defend themselves with firearms against a criminal attack or threat,”
says Bird. “For decades, Americans have been brainwashed into
taking a passive role in their own survival. "Fortunately,
some citizens have ignored that advice and are taking responsibility
for their own safety and survival."
About Chris Bird:
Chris Bird has been a
journalist for 25 years and a handgun shooter for more than 40 years.
He was born in England and his interest in shooting has steered
him through the bureaucratic red tape of owning handguns in England,
Canada, and Australia.
He was a commissioned
officer in the Royal Military Police of the British Army in the
1960s. After leaving the military Bird migrated to Canada. There
he worked as a cowboy in British Columbia while shooting and hunting
extensively. He later became a journalist and worked for newspapers
and television stations as a crime and investigative reporter.
Bird is also the author
of The Concealed Handgun Manual: How to Choose, Carry and Shoot
a Gun in Self Defense, now in its fourth edition.
He is certified in Texas
as a concealed-handgun instructor. He is a director of the Texas
Concealed Handgun Association and a member of both the Texas State
Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association. For more information
about Chris Bird visit: www.privateerpublications.com.