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How does violent crime compare to justified shootings?

Though violent crime may dominate the headlines, the reality is that there are many justified shootings every year in the United States. How do these stack up statistically?

One study looked at the numbers from 2012 and found that 259 justified homicides occurred. This was only looking at incidents that involved firearms.

When the statistics were examined for the five years between 2008 and 2012, it was found that there were 1,108 justified shootings in the United States.

It is certainly true that there were more criminal shootings in this time, though. For 2012 alone, there were 8,342 gun homicides that were classified as criminal. That means that, for every one justified shooting, there were 32 shootings that were not justified. When looking at the five-year numbers, there were even more non-justified shootings: 38 of them for every one that was deemed legal.

Interestingly, only 35.5 percent of the people who were killed in justified shootings in 2012 knew the other party before the shooting. In 51.4 percent of the cases, it was determined that the two had no relationship and were strangers. That leaves 34 shootings (13.1 percent) in which the authorities were not sure what the relationship between the two was at the time.

While these statistics do show that criminal gun activity is more common than legal shootings -- such as those that happen in self-defense situations -- they do show that these events happen year in and year out. If you've been accused of a crime and you believe that you did not act outside of the law, be sure you know what legal defense rights you have in Kansas.

Source: Violence Policy Center, "Firearm Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use," accessed Aug. 12, 2016

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