Myth 2: We have no right to self-defense (battered women and rape victims please take note)

Myth 2: We have no right to self-defense (battered women and rape victims please take note).

Dennis Henigan of the Brady Center (formerly Handgun Control, Inc.) said that self-defense is "not a federally guaranteed constitutional right" (USA Today, 11/20/91). Pete Shields, former HCI Chair, "[If attacked] put up no defense - give them what they want" (Guns Don't Die- People Do, N.Y.: Arbor House, 1981). There are some women's self-defense classes currently being taught in neighboring counties with the prescription that women should "...not resist an attack, you could be severely injured or, worse, killed - let the rapist have his way and then seek medical and mental health care afterwards."

Fact 2: Citizens can, and do, defend themselves.

Fact 2a: The right to self-defense has been recognized for thousands of years. In Beard v. United States (158 U.S. 550, 1895; see also the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Cruikshank (92 U.S. 542, 1876) a person "may repeal force by force" in self-defense and concluded that when attacked a person "was entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force" as needed to prevent "great bodily injury or death." The laws of all 50 states recognize the right to use armed force in self-defense and the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986 reaffirm such.

Fact 2b: Criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University found that "robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist [this does not mean the gun was fired] were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all" (Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, 1991; see his updated 1997 book).

Fact 2c: At least 400,000 lives each year are saved in about 2.4 million gun-related "incidents." (Kleck and Gertz, Jr. of Criminal Law and Criminology, Fall 1995). As a tribute to the accuracy of these numbers, the late Marvin Wolfgang, one of this country's leading anti-gun advocates, noted "The methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it... I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology" (Jr. Of Criminal Law and Criminology, Fall 1995, pp. 188-192).

Fact 2d: The Dept. of Justice found that 34% of felons had been "scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim," and 40% of felons have not committed crimes, fearing potential victims were armed (J. Wright and P. Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, National Institutes of Justice, 1986 research brief, and Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, Expanded Edition, 1994, Aldine de Gruyter).

| Where are we? Law enforcement does not have an obligation to protect individual citizens (although most officers act to protect individuals, they cannot be with everyone all the time). Individuals need to protect themselves from predators, and they have a right to protect themselves from predators. Self- defense DOES work. Concealed carry is one (only one) of the options available to women and men who choose to engage in self protection.

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Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.