I’m a supporter of gun rights primarily because I believe in the right of law abiding citizens to defend themselves and their loved ones from attack by violent criminals.    It turns out that criminals have taken notice of the fact that armed citizens are not easy targets, and worry more about meeting such an armed citizen then encountering the police:

Professors James D. Wright and Peter Rossi surveyed 2,000 felons incarcerated in state prisons across the United States. Wright and Rossi reported that 34% of the felons said they personally had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim”; 69% said that they knew at least one other criminal who had also; 34% said that when thinking about committing a crime they either “often” or “regularly” worried that they “[m]ight get shot at by the victim”; and 57% agreed with the statement, “Most criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.” (James D. Wright & Peter H. Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms [1986]. See Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence or Pandemic of Propaganda? by Don B. Kates, et. al. Originally published as 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 513-596 [1994]).

My thanks to James for pointing out the above referenced study.