Guns are used for self-defense somewhere between 800,000 and 3.6 million times per year ….
Using firearm crime and defensive gun use figures most favorable to advocates for stricter gun control,… the benefits from defensive gun uses exceed the cost of violent firearm crimes … by between $90 million and $3.5 billion. Using the most credible estimate for defensive gun uses, the benefits range from $1 billion to $38 billion. Putting these dollar figures in more human terms: Guns save lives.
The fact is that the best defense against violence is an armed response. For example, women faced with assault are 2.5 times less likely to suffer serious injury if they defend themselves with a gun rather than responding with other weapons or by offering no resistance…. [P]ersons defending themselves with guns during an assault are injured only 12 percent of the time, compared to 25 percent for those using other weapons, 27 percent for those offering no resistance and nearly 26 percent of those who flee….
[F]irearms are the safest, most effective way to protect oneself against criminal activity — which is why American police officers carry guns rather than going unarmed or merely carrying knives.
Source: H. Sterling Burnett
(Policy Analyst for National Center for Policy Analysis)
SHIELD, p. 51 Summer 1999.