One of the arguments for (more) gun legalization is that it saves many people, or at least it prevents many many crimes. Although this is not the end of the argument, it needs to be considered.

Is there any good research on this?

  • In the United States, how many crimes are prevented thanks to legally owned weapons?
  • How many lives are saved?
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    You may appreciate this skeptics.stackexchange.com question on the same subject: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/14098/… – Avi Oct 17 '16 at 4:23
  • I'm sorry, but just because a question is of concern for making a political decision does not mean it is a question about politics. But you could ask this question on skeptics.SE if the one linked by Avi isn't what you are looking for and if you find a notable source which makes that claim (which should not be hard to come up with when looking through some NRA press releases). – Philipp Oct 17 '16 at 8:11
  • Fair enough, the 'Skeptics' Q&A and the answer both provide good insights. Thank you! – Peter S. Oct 17 '16 at 10:22
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    One thing you have to realize it, you're asking to prove a negative (or a counterfactual, rather). It's pretty much impossible to tell how many people chose NOT to commit a crime out of a self-preservation sense because potential victim might be armed and thus pose danger to the criminal. – user4012 Oct 18 '16 at 8:18
  • Actually, a narrower question would be possible to analyze, i.e. how many crimes were actively prevented, although there don't seem to be good stats on that. The wider question of how many crimes were not committed in the first place may be hinted at via overall crime statistics but that's of course correlation at best and very tricky to prove. (As Brythan has hinted.) – Peter S. Oct 18 '16 at 8:36

In the United States, how many crimes are prevented thanks to legally owned weapons?

We don't know. There is no "did not commit crime because of gun" registry. There are some records of guns used in self defense, but this misses part of the impact of gun ownership.

Areas with high gun ownership have fewer confrontational crimes where the criminal interacts directly with the victim. Crimes where the criminal and victim are never in the same place (e.g. robbery of an unattended house) are inherently safer for the victim. We can only guess at how much impact this has. "States that allow registered citizens to carry concealed weapons have lower crime rates than those that don’t."

  • Consider a reference closer to now than 2000. crimeresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/… – Drunk Cynic Oct 17 '16 at 1:36
  • The problem with any of these studies is that they are few and far between, lacking a depth of data, and aren't fully successful in finding correlations. – user1530 Oct 17 '16 at 16:37

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