Pro-Gun Experts Prove Handguns Are Ineffective Self-Defense Tools, New VPC Study Reveals 

 For Release:   Monday, November 19, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the reported spike in handgun sales since the September 11th attacks, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Unintended Consequences: Pro-Handgun Experts Prove That Handguns Are a Dangerous Choice For Self-Defense. The 90-page study demonstrates through the writings of pro-gun experts the ineffectiveness and dangers of handguns as alleged self-defense tools.

“While the gun industry has greedily hawked its wares in the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy, they have worked even harder to keep hidden from the American public a secret they readily share among themselves handguns pose grave dangers to their owners and families,” states Tom Diaz, author of Unintended Consequences and VPC Senior Policy Analyst. “This study is comprised substantially of writings from pro-gun experts who readily admit handguns are basically impossible to use effectively in self-defense.”

For example, Massad Ayoob, a legendary firearms instructor and respected pro-gun author has cautioned, “The uninitiated tend to make two kinds of mistakes with firearms: they either use guns when they shouldn’t, or do not use them properly in the rare circumstances when they should.” Ayoob has pointed out that, “The average American has more misconceptions about lethal force in the home than in any other self-defense situation. He not only has little understanding of his legal position under these circumstances; he has no idea of how to conduct himself if, by infinitesimal chance, the day comes when his home actually is turned into a battleground he must defend against armed criminals.”

In fact, in 1998, for every time that a civilian used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 51 people lost their lives in handgun homicides alone. Yet, there have been an increasing number of news reports that women are a prime target for the gun industry as first-time handgun buyers. Left out of those reports is the fact that in 1999 for every one time a woman used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 120 women were murdered with handguns.

Handguns in the real world as opposed to the industry’s fantasy world of virtuous defensive gun use make people who own them much less safe. The study reveals that according to leading pro-gun experts the overwhelming majority of people who own handguns:

  • are ignorant of or ignore basic handgun safety rules;
  • do not have the necessary handgun combat marksmanship skills to effectively defend themselves without harming innocent others; and,
  • are not prepared for the extreme physiological and psychological effects that the experts, many of whom have on-the-street law enforcement experience with firearms, agree inevitably occur in an armed life-or-death confrontation (the only situation in which lethal force is justified in self-defense).



About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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