Yes, this is from 2015.
Yes, this is published on Politico.
Yes, this is well worth reading.
t’s deja vu all over again. In a recent Politico Magazine article, Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes resuscitate criticisms of a survey on defensive gun use that I conducted with my colleague Marc Gertz way back in 1993—the National Self-Defense Survey (NSDS). The authors repeat, item for item, speculative criticisms floated by a man named David Hemenway in 1997 and repeated endlessly since. The conclusion these critics drew is that our survey grossly overestimated the frequency of defensive gun use (DGU), a situation in which a crime victim uses a gun to threaten or attack the offender in self-defense. But what DeFilippis and Hughes carefully withheld from readers is the fact that I and my colleague have refuted every one of Hemenway’s dubious claims, and those by other critics of the NSDS, first in 1997, and again, even more extensively, in 1998 and 2001. Skeptical readers can check for themselves if we failed to refute them—the 1998 version is publicly available here. More seriously motivated readers could acquire a copy of Armed, a 2001 book by Don Kates and me, and read chapter six.
If DeFilippis and Hughes could refute any of our rebuttals, that would be news worth attending to. They do not, however, identify any problems with our refutations, such as errors in our logic, or superior evidence that contradicts any of our rebuttals. Instead, they just pretend they are not aware of the rebuttals, even though our first systematic dismantling of Hemenway’s speculations was published in the exact same issue of the journal that published Hemenway’s 1997 critique, on the pages immediately following the Hemenway article.
The authors, a couple of Oklahoma investment counselors with no graduate degrees, do not claim to have had any training in survey research methods. Like Hemenway (who is also untrained in survey methods), they believe that it’s perfectly plausible that surveys generate enormous over-estimates of crime-related experiences, as if this were the most commonplace thing in the world. The reality that survey experts are familiar with, however, is that surveys of the general public simply do not overestimate crime-related experiences.
By Gary Kleck