Actual Facts

I have been in correspondence with many of my state and national legislators, and have written my views directly to the White House. In response, and in some stories I have read in various media, people who are pushing an agenda often quote supposed "facts" in order to substantiate their claims and viewpoints. Now, there is nothing wrong with using facts to oppose or support a given topic, but often what are presented as "facts" are not objective and real. Many statistics and so-called facts are not without bias, sometimes extreme. One example I have seen references a study that if a certain measure were to be passed by the legislature, it would cost the average person over $700 per year more to pay their basic expenses - food, utilities, rent, etc. While this may be true in the aggregate, the study failed to take into consideration a projected $300 per year general cost of living increase, whether the measure under discussion passed or not. The real fact was a $400 increase, not $700.

There is an organization of researchers who find and publish actual factual data, regardless of whether anyone agrees with them or not. It is really not a matter of debate, but of provable fact derived from actual data. Studies with a high degree of objectivity and integrity. Statutes. Laws. Regulations. See them at

The, of course, have a section on gun control. It is quite extensive, even containing relevant state and federal statutes. At the beginning, there is a very interesting section of facts that anyone engaging in reasonable and rational discussions about firearms and violence should be familiar with. There are frequently 'facts' quoted in the media that seem to indicate that guns in the hands of citizens don't deter crime. However, the statistics and facts compiled by this organization speak otherwise.

I encourage you all to visit and see for yourself, but I am also quoting the beginning part of their section on gun control that I think can serve as good information to educate those who are opposed to gun ownership out of fear, misunderstanding and reliance on biased 'facts'.


"Gun Control Facts." By James D. Agresti and Reid K. Smith. Just Facts, September 13, 2010. Revised 12/28/12.

Finding What You Want

» Click on the footnote numbers for meticulous documentation of each fact.

Introductory Notes

This research is based upon the most recent available data in 2010. Facts from earlier years are cited based upon availability and relevance, not to slant results by singling out specific years that are different from others. Likewise, data associated with the effects of gun control laws in various geographical areas represent random, demographically diverse places in which such data is available.

Many aspects of the gun control issue are best measured and sometimes can only be measured through surveys,[1] but the accuracy of such surveys depends upon respondents providing truthful answers to questions that are sometimes controversial and potentially incriminating.[2] Thus, Just Facts uses such data critically, citing the best-designed surveys we find, detailing their inner workings in our footnotes, and using the most cautious plausible interpretations of the results.

Particularly, when statistics are involved, the determination of what constitutes a credible fact (and what does not) can contain elements of personal subjectivity. It is our mission to minimize subjective information and to provide highly factual content. Therefore, we are taking the additional step of providing readers with four examples to illustrate the type of material that was excluded because it did not meet Just Facts' Standards of Credibility.


* As of 2009, the United States has a population of 307 million people.[5]

* Based on production data from firearm manufacturers,[6] there are roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the United States as of 2010. Of these, about 100 million are handguns.[7]

* Based upon surveys, the following are estimates of private firearm ownership in the U.S. as of 2010:

 Households With a Gun Adults Owning a Gun Adults Owning a Handgun
Percentage 40-45% 30-34% 17-19%
Number 47-53 million 70-80 million 40-45 million

* A 2005 nationwide Gallup poll of 1,012 adults found the following levels of firearm ownership:

 Percentage Owning
a Firearm
Households 42%
Individuals 30%
Male 47%
Female 13%
White 33%
Nonwhite 18%
Republican 41%
Independent 27%
Democrat 23%

* In the same poll, gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons:

Protection Against Crime 67%
Target Shooting 66%
Hunting 41%

Crime and Self-Defense

* Roughly 16,272 murders were committed in the United States during 2008. Of these, about 10,886 or 67% were committed with firearms.[11]

* A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone "almost certainly would have been killed" if they "had not used a gun for protection." Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all "military service, police work, or work as a security guard."[12]

* Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders.[13] [14] [15] Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.[16]

* Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.[18]

* A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5% of households had members who had used a gun "for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere." Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all "military service, police work, or work as a security guard."[19]

* A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.[20]

* A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:[21]

• 34% had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"
• 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun"
• 69% personally knew other criminals who had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"[22]

Click here to see why the following commonly cited statistic does not meet Just Facts' Standards of Credibility: "In homes with guns, the homicide of a household member is almost 3 times more likely to occur than in homes without guns."