In 2012, across the nation there were only 259 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program as detailed in its Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). That same year, there were 8,342 criminal gun homicides tallied in the SHR. In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides. And this ratio, of course, does not take into account the tens of thousands of lives ended in gun suicides or unintentional shootings that year.
This report analyzes, on both the national and state levels, the use of firearms in justifiable homicides. It also details, using the best data available on the national level, the total number of times guns are used for self-defense by the victims of both attempted and completed violent crimes and property crimes whether or not the use of the gun by the victim resulted in a fatality.