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The Us Department of Justice released numbers on firearms violence for 2011. With the current debate and the impression left that guns are dripping off the American populace, to be gathered up and turned on the innocent with no delay, it’s interesting to see what the real numbers we’re working with are.

Some highlights that I found interesting:

-Between 2007 and 2011, there were 235,700 recorded cases of people defending themselves with firearms from violent attackers, just shy of 1% of victims. Another 103,000 used one to defend against property crime. I didn’t see any numbers on how successful or unsuccessful they were in their self defense.
-Per statistics from 2004, less than two percent of armed criminals say they got their guns at a gun show. Ten percent got one from a store. The rest, in pretty close percentages, either got them from family or friends, or from an illegal source.
-The most common setting for victims of violent crime was their home.
-The most commonly used firearm type in  violent crime is a handgun.
-70% of homicides involved a firearm, but only 8% of other non-fatal violent crimes.

The statistics poke at both the pro- and anti- gun control arguments. On the one hand, assault weapons don’t appear to be the scourge of our society. On the other hand, the surveyed number of times people use firearms in self defense  over a five year period tallies up to what some say occurs every year, or even every few months.

If this is a subject on which you have any opinion, though, I highly recommend looking at the data available. Knowing is still half the battle.

The other half? Judicious application of munitions.