Contradictory Complaints about Self Defense Gun Uses

Published by the LearnAboutGuns.com Author on May 4, 2009 at 12:01 am
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Those opposed to gun rights often have contradictory arguments.  One such example centers around self defense gun uses, with anti gun individuals complaining when an armed citizen fatally shoots a criminal, and also complaining when the armed citizen doesn’t shoot the criminal at all.

The Contradictory Arguments Against Self Defense

1. On one hand, armed citizens who fatally shoot violent criminals have been (incorrectly) blamed for the death of the criminal, on the theory that the citizen defended themselves too effectively.  For example, an anti gun writer ran a story discussing the self defense shooting of a violent robber.  The anti gun article suggests that the store owner who fatally shot the robber in self defense fired too many shots, and should have been charged for doing so.

2. On the other hand, armed citizens who use their gun in self defense to scare away a criminal, but fail to actually strike that criminal with a bullet, are (incorrectly) said to have ineffectively defended themselves.   For example, 20/20 ran an anti gun story that starts out by showing a security camera clip of a store clerk being robbed by a pair of armed criminals.  The store clerk grabs his self defense gun, and a shootout ensues.  Neither the clerk or the robbers are shot, and the robbers flee empty-handed, leaving the clerk unharmed.  But 20/20 calls this a self defense failure because the robbers were not shot and killed.

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The Proper Measure of Self Defense Effectiveness

The goal of self defense is to stop the criminal from harming the victim.  It is not to punish the criminal, or even to prevent the criminal from escaping.  As such, the goal of self defense can be effectuated whether the criminal is fatally shot, wounded to the point that they cannot continue the attack, or scared away by the armed citizen’s gun.  Firearms experts will very correctly recommend that the crime victim shoot to kill the criminal, simply because a fatal shot is the fastest way of stopping the criminal, before the criminal can harm the victim.  An armed citizen who hesitates or fails to fire enough shots quickly enough can end up being seriously harmed by the criminal.  As such, I believe that those who defend themselves should not be second guessed by individuals who weren’t there, and who didn’t face the deadly threat of a violent criminal.

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