Gun owners not likely to use firearms for self-defense, study claims

A new study attempts to debunk the claim that gun owners rely on their firearms for self-defense.

The left-leaning Violence Policy Center released a study Wednesday that finds people are much more likely to use a gun to kill someone without cause than to protect themselves.

According to the study, gun owners committed 259 justifiable homicides compared to 8,342 criminal homicides in 2012, the most recent year data was available.

That means gun owners are 32 times more likely to kill someone without cause than to act in self-defense, the study reasoned.

“We hope legislators in every state will stop believing the self-defense myth and look at the facts,” says Julia Wyman, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. “Guns do not make our families or communities safer.”

But the National Rifle Association (NRA) called the study into question.

"This 'so-called' study, which was paid for and promoted by gun control advocates is rubbish," NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said. "VPC fails to note that only a fraction of defensive firearm homicides are reported to the FBI and the study doesn't account for the many crimes deterred by a firearm that do not result in a homicide. Recent polling shows that most Americans believe exercising their constitutional right to self-protection makes them safer and this is just another transparent attempt to push gun control.”

Updated at 6:15 p.m.