A new study from the Violence Policy Center found that gun owners are much more likely to use guns to hurt themselves or others than to use them to kill in self-defense. Data from 2012, the most recent year for which it is available, shows that there were only 259 justifiable homicides in the U.S.
Thirteen states reported zero such homicides: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming. That year, there were 8,342 criminal firearm homicides. The data was collected by the FBI and other organizations.
“Purchasing a gun may help enrich the firearms industry, but the facts show it is unlikely to increase your personal safety,” says VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann. “In fact, in a nation of more than 300 million firearms, it is striking how rarely guns are used in self-defense.”