Defensive Gun Use Statistics: Peer Review
Marvin Wolfgang, the late Director of the Sellin Center for Studies in Criminology and Criminal Law at the University of Pennsylvania, considered by many to be the foremost criminologist in the country, wrote in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Volume 86, Number 1, Fall, 1995:
"I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police ... What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. ["Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun," by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, published in that same issue of The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology] The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator. ...I have to admit my admiration for the care and caution expressed in this article and this research. Can it be true that about two million instances occur each year in which a gun was used as a defensive measure against crime? It is hard to believe. Yet, it is hard to challenge the data collected. We do not have contrary evidence. The National Crime Victim Survey does not directly contravene this latest survey, nor do the Mauser and Hart Studies. ... the methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it. ... The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well." So this data has been peer-reviewed by a top criminologist in this country who was prejudiced in advance against its results, and even he found the scientific evidence overwhelmingly convincing.