Justifiable Homicides

  • by LtCol Tim Wilson
  • 12-18-2021


In late September the FBI released the latest Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data for 2020. Once again they have changed the format by which the public can access the figures,  ”updating” their website to make it even less user friendly than ever through deployment of a “crime data explorer”. Despite this, there is some remarkable information tucked away in plain sight. 


The data for “Justifiable Homicides” has staggering implications, especially as it provides powerful evidence that implies legal gun owners prevent more crime than law enforcement. This is no surprise to those who support the Second Amendment and believe in the natural goodness of the vast majority of American citizens. This data also supports the contention that legal gun owners are a formidable force for good.

In particular, the data on Justifiable Homicides shows that civilians commit Justifiable Homicide even more frequently than police. This strongly implies that law-abiding citizens use guns more often than police to stop crimes (this seems a reasonable assumption since their homicides are legally adjudged justifiable) by 343 to 298 (see table below).





  With the enormous growth in gun ownership over the last few decades, and the reductions in gun control that have been enacted in many States and jurisdictions, it is no surprise to many of us that more armed civilians are responding to stop crimes. This data supports the belief of many Second Amendment supporters that more guns do indeed mean less crime..


After all, the more legally armed civilians there are, the more likely they are to be involved in stopping crime in their immediate vicinity. And as the impact of the “Defund the Police” movement reduces the numbers of police available to respond to crime, it becomes ever more important that law-abiding citizens should be able to respond quickly to local trouble – after all, it has never been more true that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away”.


There is also FBI data suggesting that legally armed civilians stop active shooter situations more quickly than law enforcement, when they can (since 1950, 94% of mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones, so legally armed civilians are unable to intervene in these events). Although the data is not presented in an easily identifiable way, they do show that where legally armed civilians are present (around 10% of the events listed), they successfully stop the event 75% of the time and also successfully reduce the numbers of victims on an additional 18% of such attacks.


It would also seem reasonable that if good citizens are stopping more serious crimes than the police through Justifiable Homicide, then they are also stopping many other crimes, most likely especially violent crimes. One problem with quantifying such crime prevention is that Defensive Gun Use is known to be greatly under-reported. However the link between gun control and violent crime seems clear, with the vast majority of violent crime occurring in cities with strict gun control measures in force.


Even worse for the gun control lobby, the FBI data continues to undermine their contention that more guns = more crime, accidents and suicides. There have been multiple dire forecasts from gun control advocates over the years whenever the increases in gun ownership garner media attention, with an almost perfect record of inaccuracy. These are complex matters, but the reality is clear, significant and constant decreases in gun murders and violent crime (including rape) correlate closely to increases in gun ownership, particularly when associated with an increase in the number of households with a gun in them.


It therefore seems reasonable to posit that if gun control measures such as those proposed by President Biden, his “Gun Czar” Beto O’Rourke and his alternative Gun Czar David Chipman are enacted and a sizeable proportion of citizens are disarmed, then crime will increase. If the Justifiable Homicide data is any indication, this implies a doubling of the murder rate, the violent crime rate could jump from 1 to more than 2 million incidents each year, the number of rapes could increase by tens of thousands and the numbers of victims in mass shootings will grow. All this because some of those in power don’t like guns and don’t trust “We, the People”.