43:1 MISREPRESENTATIONS AND MISUSES

rev. 1/26/2016

RETURN TO "43 TIMES" PAGE

First, most references to the study refer to the guns "killing" the people rather than saying the people are killed by people using guns.  This is a gun control advocate ploy to constantly and subliminally imply that guns are the problem, rather than people.

Second, the claims typically say guns in homes are 43 times more likely to kill some acquaintance, friend or loved one than to kill (in self defense) an intruder, burglar or criminal.  This is supposed to make the simple person believe that a gun in the home is more dangerous for the home than it is helpful in defending against criminals.

But the claim ignores all the killings that don't occur because someone in the home has a gun.  The point of having a gun for protection in the home—or anywhere else—is not to kill criminals.  If one is comparing the positive aspects of having a gun in the home to the negative aspects, all the times a criminal victimization is prevented must be included, not just the instances in which the criminal is killed.  In the huge majority of defensive uses of guns, the victim does not kill the criminal or even fire the gun but the criminal is stopped from the criminal activity anyway.

It is wrong to suggest little value in gun possession only because few criminals are killed with the guns.  Criminals are even prevented to a certain extent ("deterred") from coming to any homes, even the ones in which there are no guns, simply because the criminals don't know which homes have the guns—provided that people are permitted to have the guns and some of them take the responsibility of doing so.

Gun controllers must be a violent lot since killing is all they think of.  This goes a long way to explain their common claim that many family or "loved one" killings occur because another "loved one" gets mad and goes out of his/her mind and kills because there was a gun "right there."  They must think that a lot of other people have the same lack of self discipline as they have.

Also, the "43 times" figure from the study is the ratio of deaths that were not justifiable homicide to deaths that were.  The authors' abstract does not say the 43 deaths were of any particular relationship to the person who killed, except that the suicides were obviously self inflicted.  Even an "intruder" can be a family member, friend or lover.  And some or all of those seven persons who were killed justifiably (in addition to the two intruders) may actually have been friends, lovers or family.

According to the study's classification of the deaths, there were 389 noncriminal deaths for only 2 intruder deaths, for a ratio of 194.5 to 1 so quoting the "43 times" in relation to intruders is a misrepresentation of the findings.

Third, comparing a total that includes all the suicides and accidental deaths to the self-defense total is not a fair way to compare the costs and benefits of firearms in the home.  The reason for this is that at least a huge portion of the suicides with guns would occur using some other tool even if guns did not exist.  This is true to a lesser extent even for accidental deaths.  The fact is that the Kellermann "study" was not a comparison of the hazards of guns in the home vs. the benefits.  The only benefit Kellermann and Reay included was that small number of criminals justifiably killed in the home.

Check out this article by Dr. Suter.

Let's look at some examples of the common, sometimes stupid, misrepresentations of the findings that gun controllers and media use.

On the syndicated TV "Mo Show" in January, 1994, a spokeswoman for the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence said a gun in the home was "43 times as likely to kill a child than to offer protection against a burglar."  According to this confused gun controller, all those 43 are children even though Kellerman didn't even address the number of "child" victims, and the "one" is just an "offering protection" rather than a killing, even though protection is actually obtained hundreds of times for each killing of a criminal.

The National Crime Prevention Council 1995 "NOT ONE MORE!" handbook "Making Children, Families, and Communities Safer From Violence" says "Studies show that a firearm in the home is more than forty times as likely to hurt or kill a family member as to stop a crime." They don't say which "studies." Note that they include just "hurt," and that it's only "family," but that they compare to "stop a crime" rather than a killing.

The Ceasefire web site in late '97 said "Guns kept in the home are 43 times more likely to kill a family member, friend, or acquaintance than an intruder."  Remember that the study "43" ratio was to all self defense killings, not just to killings of intruders.

RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE