Pew Poll Supports High levels of Defensive Gun Use

Pew Poll Supports High levels of Defensive Gun Use
Pew Poll Supports High levels of Defensive Gun Use

Arizona -(  The number of defensive gun uses (dgu) in the United States is difficult to measure. Surveys which ask about defensive gun uses have routinely shown numbers between 500,000 and 3 million per year.  A survey, specifically designed to determine dgu in the U.S., the National Self Defense Survey, (NSDS) found about 2.5 million dgu per year in 1993.

The National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS), shows smaller numbers, about 80,000 per year. The NCVS does not ask about defensive gun uses, but depends on victims volunteering the information.

Numerous other polls have found similar numbers to what the NSDS found.  These include three large surveys done by the Center for Disease Control shortly after the NSDS. The CDC results were only found recently, after being buried by the CDC for twenty years.

A survey done by detractors of the NSDS found similar numbers of defensive gun uses. The detractors then attempted to discredit their own survey. Police Foundation survey (Cook and Ludwig 1996; 1997).

A recent Pew poll supports large numbers of defensive gun uses (dgu) each year.  It also shows large numbers of people who report they have been shot.

In the Pew poll, seven percent of all adults in the poll say they have defended themselves, family, or possessions with a gun by firing it or threatening to fire it. Three percent of people say they have been shot.

Seventeen percent of self identified gun owners say they have used guns defensively by that definition.

Nine percent of people who say they used to own a gun say they used one for defense as defined in the poll. From

Roughly one-in-seven adults who own or have owned a gun (15%) say they have fired or threatened to fire a gun to defend themselves, their family or their possessions.

One percent of people who say they have never owned a gun say they used one for self defense in that way.

The Pew question could be both more inclusive and specific. It leaves out defense of non-family.  It eliminates uses where the defender did not shoot or threaten to shoot the gun. In most defensive gun uses, the gun is never fired.  Many users never threaten to fire their gun.

The number of adults in 2017 was 248 million.  Seven percent of 248 million is 17.36 million adults who say they used a gun defensively, sometime in their life.

If we use 20 years as typical of what adults may remember, that would be 868 thousand dgu a year. If we use 35 years as the average, it would be 496 thousand dgu per year. The average age of a person in the U.S. is 37.

It is hard to know what percentage of incidents may be forgotten, or how many adults might have used a gun defensively more than once.  The poll does not measure how many adults would give a false answer.

The Pew poll question would have been better if it were time limited. It would have been better to have more questions that helped to verify the defensive uses.

Those steps were taken in  the National Self Defense Survey (NSDS) done by Dr. Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The NSDS was done in 1993 and published in 1995.

Critics have attacked the NSDS numbers as inaccurate. Professor Kleck has answered the attacks and defended the NSDS numbers .

The recent poll done by Pew is not as large, nor as detailed as the NSDS. Its results are compatible with the NSDS results.

One criticism of the NSDS results is that the number of killed or wounded attackers, extrapolated from the poll results, is larger than the number seen in hospitals.   In the Kleck and Gertz survey, about 8% of those who reported a defensive gun use said they thought they had wounded or killed the person they were shooting at (about 20 respondents).

The CDC recorded 116,000 non-fatal firearm injuries in 2016. These are firearm injuries where the injury was recorded at a medical facility.

A criticism of the NSDS is the small number of defenders who thought they had wounded or killed the person they were defending from, extrapolates to 207,000 people with firearm injuries per year.  Those critical of the NSDS argued that far fewer people than 207,000 were recorded as injuries in emergency rooms and hospitals each year.

Kleck answered this criticism by noting that he and Gertz had cautioned about extrapolation from such small numbers, based on speculation by the reporting defenders.  From Kleck:

…they specifically cautioned against using NSDS data to generate such an estimate because an estimate of defensive woundings would be based (unlike the estimates of DGU frequency in general) on a small sample (the approximately 200 respondents who reported a DGU) and because NSDS interviewers had done no detailed questioning of respondents regarding why they thought that they had wounded their adversaries.

Kleck also noted that the number of people wounded may not be well measured by reports from emergency rooms.  A previous study by Kleck showed that most people who report to emergency rooms with gunshot wounds are criminals.

the fact that the vast majority of victims of medically treated GSWs linked to alleged “assaults” are known criminals (Kleck 1997, Chapter 1).

Gunshot wounds are reported to the police. There is incentive for criminals to avoid visiting emergency rooms with minor gunshot wounds. In reading hundreds of reports of wounded criminals, virtually all attempt to convince authorities that they are the victim.

The recent Pew poll supports Kleck and the NSDS results.

In the Pew survey, conducted in April of 2017, three percent of adults say they have been shot accidentally or intentionally.  That is 7.44 million people who say they have been shot.

Divide that number by years of experience to produce approximate numbers of the people who say they were shot per year.

If we choose 20 years as the average number of years adults remember, the number shot is over 372 thousand a year. If we use a 35 year average, it would be 212 thousand people shot per year.

Fatal firearm accidents are at an all time low, less than 500 per year.

The Pew survey can be added to the list of those that show relatively high levels of defensive gun use in the United States.

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 35 thoughts on “Pew Poll Supports High levels of Defensive Gun Use

    1. Umm, 7% of 248,000,000 is 1,736,000, Not 17 million. FYI I did not math check the rest of the article.

      1. And it’s a good thing you didn’t math check the rest of the article, because 7% of 248,000,000 is indeed 17,360,000 (248,000,000 x 0.07 = 17,360,000).

    2. The reality is this, and something everyone needs to argue-even on the lowest end of the spectrum, firearms are used 4-5x more for defensive purposes than they are for crimes (that’s including suicides, since half of deaths are suicide, but the Left never makes that distinction, so we will just include it). If people think restricting firearms is a good thing, they’re delusional.

      The cold truth of the matter is they are used far more to defend life than with the criminal intent to take life.

      1. That is the problem with self reported DGU’s. They are not reported to the police. You have only the unsupported opinion of the reporter that this was a legitimate use of deadly force. The sap on the other end of the firearm probably has a very different opinion, but you are not going to hear that. My own experience on the receiving end of a DGU is they are usually attempts to defend property, or just frighten off someone who you do not want hanging around, then they are deterring serious life threats.

        1. Kenneth, if the “sap” on the other end was truly a victim of crime, the “sap” would have reported it, that would include “frightening” someone, aka brandishing – also illegal. As to defense of property, in most states it is illegal to use a firearm for that purpose. Regardless, if you protected your property, that is a defensive use by definition. You can disbelieve what you want, ignorance is supposed to be bliss, so continue on with your happy life.

          1. Generally good points. The “victim” of a DGU, like the firearm user, may have all kinds of reasons not to report the incident to the police. They may be up to questionable activities, they may be racial minorities or undocumented migrants with good reasons not to trust the police. Or young children that are just too terrified to tell anyone. And using a firearm to protect your property may or may not be legal, and may or may not be wise. If it turns out that the other party is has a properly issued concealed carry permit, he could quite appropriately assume you are a dangerous threat and take whatever action is required to neutralize that threat. But it certainly counts as a defensive gun use. It could not, under any circumstances, be counted as “defending life” which was the phrase used in the original post that we are both responding to.

            1. Kenneth,your “what if’s” do not met reality. If your “what if’s” were reality, we’d certainly be reading them in the Leftist news – we aren’t – that is where reality meets your insanity.

            2. @Heed, KEC is twisting the hypo into the same “blood in the streets”argument that the gun grabbers used to oppose shall issue. The actual three decades of experience, as you correctly point out, never did support the gun grabbers’ arguments.

    3. My own personnel statistics. Three times an armed citizen has threatened me with a firearm, largely because they did not like the fact that I existed. Based on that, I strongly suspect that the vast majority of self reported DGUs are seeing righteous jerks dealing with imaginary threats

      1. Brilliant. You are way above average being threatened 3 times. What a guy! You’re a real superhero. And these times because people did not like that you existed.
        Hmm, perhaps you aren’t a very likeable fellow.

      2. @Kenneth Corbin, Most people don’t just “not like the fact that someone exists”. Most people even tolerate the existence of rats, cockroaches, and skunks. So what did you do or say that made you an intolerable threat to these three separate people? Come on. Tell us the whole truth. What did you do to be a credible lethal threat?

        1. I’m pretty old. All of these incidents happened back in the early 80’s. Two can be chalked up as natural conflict between conservative landowners and long haired hippies with minimal respect for land ownership rights. One was instigated by a couple teenage kids who thought it would be fun to frighten the longhair walking by. I do not, and never have, reacted well to being threatened, generally ignoring demands by gun toting a*holes and carrying on with what I had been doing. Not the wisest course, but the fact that I still around to talk about it is a pretty good indication they were all bullies trying to use their firearms to intimidate mild mannered non-firearm owners rather than reasonable men reacting to a perceived real threat.

          Other interesting personal stats. In the 30 years I have volunteered for our local fire district we have had two firearm murder-suicide incidents. Earlier this year we responded firearm ambush that killed one man and seriously injured a woman who just happened to have the bad luck to be dropping someone off when all of this came down. And two years ago our next door neighbor got in serious legal trouble because he took a firearm, and their two year old child, to confront his wife who was having some kind of relationship with a male coworker.

          We won’t count numerous gun related suicides during 30 year period. Or the time some started shooting at us with an air pistol that I, gun neophyte that I am, thought was a real firearm.

          So, I do not like guns. Never have, probably never will. I do understand that they are useful tools with legitimate purposes. We live in a rural community where probably half the households own firearms. Most of which are kept safely locked away and only brought out when they are needed for some purpose. The ones that scare me are the nuts who insist that a loaded weapon has to be kept on hand at all times so they can defend themselves against a violent threat that is somehow going to manifest in a neighborhood that we find so peaceful that we never lock our doors. Based on my limited experience, I am pretty sure that self defense gun nuts are more likely to become a violent criminal then they are to ever deter one.

      3. Kenneth, and did you report these supposed events? And why not, if you were the innocent victim you claim to have been? As stated in the story, most criminals claim they were the victims that got shot.

        I discount your other posts, too, based on the fact that if it smells like bs, it probably is.

        1. Fair question. I did not report any of these events. Remember this was back in the 80’s before cell phones were invented. I was on foot, reporting an incident to the proper authorities would have mean hitch-hiking 5-10 miles to the nearest town and then searching for a police station to report an incident that they were unlikely to have any interest in pursuing.

          Truth be told, I never considered any of these incidents to be a terribly big deal. Redneck gun wielder attempted to intimidate scary long haired hippy and failed miserably. Case closed as far as I was concerned. I only bring them out when people write articles identifying large numbers of defensive gun uses to point out that, in an unknown but probably large percentage of these cases, the gun user was defending against a threat that existed only in his own imagination.

          As for the other stuff, the latest shooting was recent enough that you can still look it up online. You can Google “Blodgett Oregon Shooting” to find a dozen articles about it. The other incidents were further back in time, or sufficiently minor events, that I can not cite any outside confirmation. But trust me, they are not the kind of incidents that one forgets very easily.

          Out curiosity, what is your personal experience with using a firearm to defend yourself, your neighbors, or their property?

          1. Kenneth, not that it is any of your business to know what, if anything I do with or have used my firearms for, but I have only ever used my firearms for target shooting. I do have a CC permit and do carry when and where I am legally allowed. I avoid bad situations and have been fortunate in my life to not have gotten into any where I had access to or needed a firearm. I had one incident abroad where I was only allowed to carry a pocket knife, and I was fortunate that that was enough to convince the perp there was better opportunities elsewhere. In the dark, the sound of it opening, unseen, not knowing how big it is or anything, just that click in the silence of the night when the perp expected a willing victim was enough.

            I currently have good neighbors, as far as I am aware. The one bad one that I became aware of was arrested about a decade ago. Two SWAT members with rifles walked through my driveway and busted-in his backdoor. He was arrested for armed robbery. Oddly, the felon was not legally allowed to obtain nor possess firearms, but did anyway.

            I presume since you never reported those supposed incidents that you must still be 5 – 10 miles from civilization. You could easily have contacted the police after you got back.

            “I only bring them out when people write articles identifying large numbers of defensive gun uses to point out that, in an unknown but probably large percentage of these cases, the gun user was defending against a threat that existed only in his own imagination.” That is entirely your opinion, not supported by any facts, not even the anti-rights media claims that. You are allowed your opinion and allowed to lie, but don’t be surprised when you are called on your bs, especially on a site that is pro-constitutional rights.

            1. Nothing personal, just trying to make small talk. You certainly do not have to tell me anything you do not want to.

              It does sound like you live in the same kind of quiet low crime, rural neighborhood that I do. I could ask why you find it necessary to carry a firearm in such an environment. The answer would presumably be for the same reason why I wear a seat belt when travelling in a vehicle. I have no reason to expect to be in an accident, but it never hurts to be prepared for one.

              One thing I have never quite understood is the benefits of being able to carry a concealed weapon. If carrying a firearm makes you feel safer and deters criminal attacks, why not carry it out in the open like the old west movies? True, a lot of card carrying liberals will find that strange and threatening, and go out of their way to avoid dealing with you. But isn’t that also a benefit? What am I missing here??

            2. >> I presume since you never reported those supposed incidents that you must still be 5 – 10 miles from civilization. You could easily have contacted the police after you got back.

              Well, that was almost 40 years ago, seems a bit late to be getting excited about it now. Like I said, I did not think it was a big deal at the time. Someone tried to intimidate me with a firearm and failed miserably. Not worth bothering law enforcement with.

              And now that I am an old respectable landowner myself, I have a bit more sympathy for the situation they were in. Even if it were practical to track them down and file a legal complaint against what would probably be felony brandishing, I would not want to do so.

              The teenage kids are a different story. They probably deserved a good talking too with some possible negative consequences imposed by their parents. Hopefully they got straightened out in the intervening decades.

            3. Kenneth, I live in the “burbs”, but it is very low crime area, where kids leave bikes and toys in their yards.

              Why I carry, many reasons, one being because my relative, a now former LEO, convinced me that he and LE are not there for my and my family’s protection and he wanted me to be able protect his sister and our child. Also, as I stated previously, I had an incident abroad that showed me that one can’t prevent all bad situations, and as an older person, I understand that I am a more likely target. Being prepared, just as I carry a tactical flashlight and a pocket knife, first aid equipment at home and in the car, etc.

              Why carry concealed? There are many reasons, a few I will list here. One as you stated, some people are frightened at the mere thought of a firearm, much less the sight of one. CC also reduces retention issues and is legal in places OC might not be (or at least having the requirement of having a CC to do so – my state legislative offices being one such place). I do carry OC at gun shows when representing rights groups as they want people to get accustomed to seeing regular people with firearms.

            4. Interesting contrast….

              I helped raise 3 daughters. Who I wanted to be strong and independent and unafraid to do anything in a world where half the population is going to be bigger and stronger than they are. So I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours over a span of many years enrolling the family in an unarmed self defense class.

              It seems we both want the same thing, but chose radically different approaches. I guess if you are raised in a family where guns are a routine fact of life, that is what you automatically think of when it comes to self protection. But it seems to me that it comes with a lot of drawbacks.

              The skills my girls learned are always with them, everywhere they go and no matter who they are with. They can not be left behind, or lost, or stolen. None of that would be true if I decided to purchase and learn to use a firearm to protect them.

            5. Kenneth, so in two incidents you admit to breaking the law and ignoring requests to leave private property. You also admit that in two incidents their was no brandishing or other “threat” of harm, which is why you avoided going to the police. The third incident, if it happened as you state, you should have reported it.

              As far as teaching your children non-armed self-defense, my daughter also has learned that. I also know unarmed self-defense. You never asked me about that. LEOs also know unarmed self-defense, but oddly they still carry firearms for self-defense. I guess you and you daughters are so much better than the rest of us. Except for that law-breaking aspect of yours.

              In my post I didn’t state that my first thought for self-defense was getting a firearm. I also related a situation where I didn’t have a firearm, but was still successful in peaceably ending the situation. You inferred that I don’t know other means of self-defense, yet I showed you one. I am not stupid enough to believe that my daughter will be able to fight off a man twice her size and strength, nor stupid enough to believe as an older man that I will be able to successfully fight a stronger, young man without other means than my two hands and feet. You must believe being an unarmed, defenseless victim is better than an armed survivor of an attempted attack. You can believe what you want, the rest of us will live in the real world and do what it takes to protect ourselves and family, armed or unarmed.

            6. Back again, been real busy lately….

              There are a number of reasons why I did not feel it necessary to report any of these incidents to law enforcement. But the primary one is that I never really felt threatened by any of these individuals. To a greater or lesser extent, they were trying to frighten me, and failed miserably.

              My actions in all three cases may or may not have been legal, and certainly were unwise. Not something I would ever recommend to anyone. But that is not the question. The question is, do you consider any of these to be legitimate DGU incidents? My guess is that the collected DGU statistics in the referenced article include a lot if similar incidents. Are they legitimate DGU incidents or not?

              I was trying, really hard, to make this a story about me rather than implying anything about your view of armed self defense. But it isn’t easy and I obviously failed. Sorry about that. Congratulations on having a healthy and well rounded attitude about protecting your family.

              I will take issue with the implication that myself, or by extension anyone not carrying a concealed firearm, expects to be an unarmed defenseless victim of any future altercation. I would have thought that my previous history is a good indication that I am more than willing to resist injustice and oppression by any means necessary. I just do not find carrying a firearm to be a safe or useful method to accomplish that. I figure that I am more likely to come into conflict will well armed police officer or federal agent than a common criminal, in which case carrying a firearm would be distinctly unwise.

            7. Kenneth, legally carrying a firearm “around” police isn’t unwise, they respect the 2A and legal carry/ownership. If you are CC, even they won’t know, unless they did a record check on you.

              You made it personal when you implied and as you just stated that you believe carrying is stupid and unnecessary. There are numerous examples in the news to prove otherwise. Again you falsely claim that your incidents represent many DGUs – strictly only your opinion, based on no facts, which, again, news reports prove otherwise. Your stating you didn’t feel threatened proves your comment about all firearm owners being a bunch of stupid, scary rednecks is a false straw man argument used to bash us. I also don’t believe a statement that I have a firearm is meant to frighten, but a warning. If I had someone on my property refusing to leave when requested, that would be concerning. Why would a law-abiding person not abide by a reasonable request to leave the owner’s property? It would certainly raise suspicions that that person was up to no good and stating I have a means of protecting myself, I would believe would change most people’s minds. I know my one incident stating I had a knife while clicking it open unseen certainly had that deterrent effect. It seems the idea of those people being armed had the same effect on you. Yes, the likelihood of encountering a need for self-defense is rare here in the USA, but so is the need for fire extinguishers, but I bet you wouldn’t believe it stupid and unnecessary that I own fire extinguishers. Better to have it and not need it – the same for self-defense.

              I have been fortunate in my travels having only encountered one questionable incident so far in my life. I always check news sources, travel sites, etc., and the State Department website when researching places I want to travel to. I avoid high crime areas, or like in London, avoid the bad areas. Unfortunately you can’t always predict where those may be. London had several incidents in the “good” parts of the city, fortunately not while I was there.

              Unlike many travelers, I practice situational awareness. I believe that has kept me safer. I had several things get my attention where I was able to just turn around or otherwise avoid a suspicious activity/action. With or without a firearm, or other self-defense tools, I try to avoid bad situations.

              The best way to win a confrontation is not to be there to start with. And if you get into a bad situation, an unfair fight is better than a “fair” fight. The criminal gets to chose who, when, where and with what force multipliers (physical strength/size, numbers of criminals, and/or weapons), we only get to choose between being a willing victim or self-defense (and with whatever tools/objects are readily available).

            8. Hanging out with cops while carrying is probably fine. But I’m talking about engaging in a conflict situation, resisting the enforcement of unjust laws. In the 60’s I would have been arrested for protesting segregated establishments. Today, I would feel morally bound to aggressively block ICE attempts to arrest undocumented immigrants. Without a firearm, I expect to be arrested and charged. With a firearm, I stand a very high chance of getting killed.

              And I did make it clear that I did not consider the behavior of the gun owners I documented to be typical of more than a small fraction of the general gun owning population. Every population segment has it’s share of bad apples. It’s just that irresponsible gun owners happen to be exceptionally visible, while responsible CC users fly completely under the radar.

              I do believe that carrying a firearm is stupid an unnecessary. Which is why I do not carry one. You feel that carrying a firearm protects you and those around you, which is why you do. The actual reality is, complicated. I can point out cases where carrying a firearm got people killed. You can point out cases where carrying a firearm saved lives. Both are very low probability events, and we just do not have reliable statistics that might prove which is more likely. And it probably does not really matter. You feel safer carrying a firearm, until you do something that demonstrates you are threat to us “normal” people, I have no objection to your continuing to do so.

              And to the extent that I have accused you have being stupid or irresponsible, I again apologize. That was not my intent.

              There is still the question of whether you consider the events I described legitimate DGU’s or not. The teenage kids were clearly out of line. You seem to be trying to justify concluding that the irate landowner incidents were legitimate DGU’s, but have not actually come out and made that conclusion. Are they or are they not legitimate?

              And whatever gave you the idea that being confronted by an armed person has some kind of deterrent effect on me? The effect is quite the reverse, being accosted by a belligerent man with a gun is going to bring out my contrary side. I understand that your average common criminal, looking for easy prey, is going to back off pretty quickly when confronted with a armed victim. But with me, introducing a firearm into the equation is going to make things really ugly really fast.

              I will freely admit that this is not a particularly smart or safe attitude to take. Certainly wouldn’t recommend it as a general practice. But it just is how I am.

            9. Kenneth, your refusing to get off someone’s property doesn’t make that person irate. If “introducing a firearm into the equation is going to make things really ugly really fast”, why didn’t you attack those purportedly armed land owners? It seems that their being armed made you decide not to assault them and leave, just as the one event of mine where a knife changed the perp’s mind.

              There aren’t reliable stats on DGUs? Numerous studies have come to similar conclusions, the last by the CDC in 2013 showing similar results to the others. There are anywhere from 500,000 to 3 million DGUs annually, many times more than criminal uses of firearms.

              Trying to convince firearm owners to disarm because you believe it to be stupid and unnecessary to have firearms isn’t going to create any converts. Your “belief” that firearms don’t make a difference in a criminal encounter is countered by facts that show that it does make a difference, just as my having a knife made a difference. Or do you also believe that any self-defense tools are also stupid and unnecessary? I understand why you don’t want people armed. It makes your criminal acts more difficult to perpetrate.

              Us normal people are those that don’t live in a dream state with a world filled with unicorns and fairies. There are bad people in the world, even you admit that. Yes, as I stated, and as did you, it is rare to have an encounter where self-defense is necessary, but I had one, and was lucky nothing bad happened. My having a knife was enough. If there is a next time, I might not be so lucky. Being prepared is a motto life experience has shown me the value of. Not being prepared is stupid.

              I also had issues with trespassers on my property. A couple of times I wish I had a self-defense tool with me. Thankfully nothing happened. The police are of little value after the fact. They have to catch the person trespassing, then when caught, the crime doesn’t carry much penalty. I didn’t mind the trespassing so much, except that I had a young daughter at the time and they left a lot of garbage and empty beer, wine and liquor bottles on my property. I still have occasional trespassers, but not nearly like it was a number of years ago. My daughter’s an adult and they don’t leave much garbage in the yard anymore, either.

          2. @KC, you were on foot, five to ten miles from the nearest town, in the 1980s? Was that summer or winter? How much water did you have with you? What clothing were you wearing? Were any other people with you on your little stroll away from civilization?
            And a then gun wielding red neck attempted to intimidate you for no reason? And you want us to trust your story? I can not tell if you are not telling the whole truth or not telling any truth, but you are attempting to deceive.

            1. No problem…

              Incident #1 Pittsburgh area in Pennsylvania.
              I was a teenager, well before I had a drivers license. That would put it somewhere in the 1963-65 range. I enjoyed what would nowadays be known as a free-range childhood, but back then that was pretty much the norm. I enjoyed hiking through the backwoods up to 5-6 miles from home, or biking rural roads up to 12 miles away. On this particular day I was cutting across country trying to get to the top of nearby hill. Reached the hill top, enjoyed the view, then started backtracking the way I had come. There are not “public” lands in that area so everything was privately owned. I usually avoided areas specifically posted as no trespassing, but this time I encountered posted signs on the way back along the way I had come, so I continued on. A male voice from somewhere in the woods told me that I was trespassing, that he had a gun, and ordered me off his land. I said something to the effect that I was on the way back, but he insisted I turn around and head back up the hill. I ignored him, continued an continued on my way. I never actually saw this person and have no idea if he really had a firearm or not.

              Incident #2 somewhere in California.
              Recently discharged from the Army and was enjoying a nomadic existence. Camping out and living out of a BMW motorcycle. Which would put this in the 1975-1977 era. Cruising back roads when I started looking for a nice place to stop and fix lunch. Turn off on one of the many jeep tracks found in the area. After probably half a mile the road forked and the right fork displayed one of those obnoxious “No Trespassing” signs. Took the left fork for another quarter file and found another “No Trespassing” sign. Stopped short of the sign to fix lunch. About the time I was finished and packing up to head out a youngish guy pulled up in a Jeep. Told me I was on private land and ordered me off. I told him the ground I was on wasn’t posted, he replied that it had been posted, but transients like myself were always taking down the signs. The incident ended when he displayed some kind of handgun that had been stowed on the passenger seat of the jeep, just to show that he had it, and drove off in a huff.

              Incident #3, somewhere in the Northwest. I think central Washington. Somewhere around 1978, maybe 1979. Still living a nomadic lifestyle. Today we would call it homeless, back then it was “On the road”. I had downsized to carrying everything in a frame backpack and traveled by hitchhiking, generally going where rides took me. Had very long hair and beard, good set of outdoor clothing and good hiking boots and carried a quart canteen of water. On this particular case, I was trying to find a friend at a specific address which was probably 8 miles off of the main Interstate in hostile territory, meaning nobody was going to pick me up. Was hiking along secondary highway when I was passed by two male teens in a pickup truck, dressed in cowboy garb. One of the yelled “I’m going to kill you hippy” as they drove by. About a quarter mile past me they turned off a side road and started shooting rabbits. I ignored them and kept on going. About a half a mile further down the road, the same truck drove by. This time one kid was driving, the other was sitting in the pickup bed attempted to throw some rabbit guts at me. Since he made no attempt to correct for the fact that was throwing from a moving vehicle, he missed by a country mile and off they drove. I just shrugged and kept on walking.

              General conclusions….
              I do live in a rural area and most of my local neighbors are gun owners. I certainly do not conclude or intend to imply that the actions described above are typical for all by a very tiny minority of gun owners.

              But, if any of the individuals involved just happened to be called as part of the PEW survey reported in this article, you can bet that they all would have described their interactions with me as a legitimate defensive gun use. My only point is relying on self reported DGU’s is going to result in inflated statistics.

          3. Well, hello again…

            In the cases cited, I did not ” attack those purportedly armed gun owners” primarily because all of them were in the process of retreating, or staying invisible, when they claimed to have a firearm. Again, this should not be considered typical behavior on the part of all gun owners, it just happens to be my experience.

            These all happened a long time ago. If something like that were to occur now, I would also add I am a pretty committed pacifist and would try very hard to avoid harming anyone other than myself for any reason. I would most likely make an exception if confronted with someone actively using a weapon to inflict casualties on innocent bystanders. But that remains an incredibly unlikely scenario that I do not spend too much time thinking about.

            I do try to get along with everyone. If I were to run into an irate landowner today, I would try to be polite and comply with any reasonable requests. Unless they decided to bring a firearm into the equation, in which case things get ugly. The action response plan for that scenario is
            1) I am not complying with anything you want me to do until you put that thing away.
            2) Use my convenient cell phone to call 911, explain the situation, then put it on speakerphone so there is a record of the the remaining conversation.
            3) Quietly and calmly explain to my assailant that while I am a personal pacifist who will not do anything in any way to harm him personally, that protection does not apply to the firearm he is threatening me with. And that unless he puts it away, I will do my best to remove it from his possession and destroy it.

            Best outcome, assailant will back down and we will have a reasonable conversation, and explain to responding law enforcement that it was all a big misunderstanding and there is no reason charge anyone with anything.

            Worst outcome, I end up dead and assailant ends up with a long sentence. Either way, the world is a better, safer place. Note that it does not make any difference whether this a landowner protecting his property from transients or a mugger who wants my wallet. A man using a firearm to force me to do something is never a good guy.

            Where did you come up with the idea that I believed the presences of a firearm makes no difference in a criminal encounter. That is totally absurd. The presence of a firearm makes an enormous difference to just about every situation where it is introduced. Criminal encounters, conflicts between strangers, conflicts with law enforcement. Introducing a firearm into any conflict situation makes it far more dangerous. If you are the only one with a firearm, and you are not confronting someone like me, you are more likely to maintain a greater level of control over the situation. If both parties have firearms, the odds favor someone getting seriously injured or killed.

            I do find it necessary to personally apologize for the trash and vandalism problems that you have had. I have had a long career as a serial trespasser, and while I have always respected the land I travel across, I am painfully aware that that attitude is not shared by everyone. It is very unfortunate, you should not have to suffer from it. And I have to acknowledge that it is largely my kind of people who are responsible. I am truly sorry about that.

            1. Kenneth, you post more of the same bs that is counter to studies and the news. Believe what you may. As I stated before, your bs will not convert anyone to your side. People can smell the stench of your bs and will not believe you. You imply you are not violent, but continually state that most firearm owners aren’t peaceful, another lie not supported by facts, studies and news reports, and that you would assault a firearm owner if given the chance. You them call us assailants for wanting to defend ourselves from a person that shows total disrespect for others and their property and hatred in his words – warped perception. Yet you still backed down when the idea of a firearm was made known. Seems in real life you are a coward when the chips are down.

              I have no issue debating with someone that is honest and has facts to support his/her opinions. All of your suppositions and stories unsupported by any thread of fact shows your predilection to prevaricate.

            2. There seems to be a recurring pattern where you react angrily to something I never said. Like this guy must be a leftist libtard who believes all of the dumb things we accuse libtards of believing, so lets respond to all of those stupid things they say.

              I have never tried to convince anyone to give up their firearms. Carrying firearms for self defense may be stupid, as long as you are not threatening those around you, you have a right to be stupid.

              I certainly never claimed firearm owners were not peaceful. Most firearm owners keep them for hunting, target shooting, and varmit control. All remarkably peaceful enterprises. Of the ones that carry for self defense, most consider themselves peaceful people who just want to maintain the peace. There are some who are overly aggressive, and I seem to be prone to running into them, but I never claimed that they were more than a very small minority of the general gun-owning public.

              I did use the word assailant to refer to someone using a firearm in an attempt to force his will on an unarmed person. Seems fair enough to me.

              I have never, and probably never will, back down when threatened by a man with a gun. In the three cases I have had the bad luck to experience, the man weilding a firearm either backed down or left the scene.

              I have spent far too much time wondering exactly what is going on here. On one hand, you sound more and more like you are living in a paranoid fantasy world that would make carrying a firearm downright dangerous. On the other hand, you have been a CC holder for most of your life without ever running into a situation where you found it necessary to use that gun. Which would indicate you have the a high level of responsibility that I would expect from a trained CC holder.

              What I think is happening is that the culture wars over firearms have reached the point where the us vs them mentality has taken precedence over, literally, everything else. My side has to be supported at all costs, no matter what they say or do. Their side has to be eliminated or reduced to a slavelike degree of powerlessness. Doing anything less run the risk of being losing everything we hold dear. Does that sound close???

              I do not find you threatening. What can I do to be less of a threat to you?

            3. The recurring theme is refuting your dishonesty and your negativity towards law-abiding people. I never stated you are a leftist libturd, etc. The “stupid things” I have responded to are your statements. I have not constructed any straw men, as you have, and have only replied to your statements. However, your words are typical of anti-rights people and you have numerous times stated directly, as you did in your last post, that you believe owning firearms is stupid. You have also stated, as you did in this last post, that because I am a firearm owner that I am stupid, and that I have a right to be stupid. However, there is no right to be stupid, nor is such a right protected/guaranteed by our USA Constitution and its amendments. By calling me stupid, you are making personal. However, the only angry, paranoid person posting here is you.
              Using a firearm to defend oneself does not make one an assailant, so your statement is false, misplaced, and an unfair judgment on law-abiding citizens. Your thought-processes shown in your posts are very childish. You were forced to stop infringing on the rights of property owners and you stated you would not have acceded to their demands except that they implied they were armed. That, to me, makes the law-breaker the stupid one. A child would say and act like you do. “He/she’s stupid.” Why? “He/she claimed he/she had a firearm and told me to abide by his/her property rights and leave the property.” How does that make the lawful citizen stupid? “He/she’s stupid because I didn’t want to leave their property.” You are now, decades later, posting your response to them in your hate-filled attack on law-abiding people.

              You claim that you would attack a firearm owner, if given the opportunity. Yet, when those opportunities occurred, you backed down. You now claim that they backed down, a property owner backed down after telling you to leave, which you then did, is not backing down. You claim that you didn’t attack them because you didn’t see a firearm, yet you still backed down and fled. You lick your wounds and attempt to save face by claiming that if you saw a firearm, you would have assaulted them. Seems odd that if you were not afraid, why you did not continue to infringe on their property rights and break the law.

              You state that I am allowed to be stupid as long as I am not threatening anyone. As a law-abiding citizen, I do not threaten anyone, that is illegal. In no post have I stated anything that would lead a normal person to believe that I am paranoid and living in a fantasy world. You, on the other hand, state that you would become violent if you saw a firearm and would attack a firearm owner, if given the chance. In the real world when that did happen, you ran away.

              As far as restrictions on lawful firearm owners, the current crop of laws have done nothing, but infringe on law-abiding citizens. The criminals still break laws and illegally obtain, possess and use firearms. Requiring registration, etc., only affects the law-abiding. The courts have already ruled that a prohibited person is not required by law, under the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, to register firearms.

              You are of no threat to me, and I have not stated nor implied that you are. Your words show that you might be a threat to normal people, except that in real life you have proven your cowardice and therefore are not a threat to anyone.

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