Our Grants

Pathways to Violence: Investigating the Relationship Between Defensive Gun Use and Victim Injury in the United States using National Surveillance Data


This project examines whether self-defensive gun use during an assault increases or decreases the risk of injury to the person using the gun defensively, holding other risk factors constant.


In Progress


To clarify the competing risks and benefits of self-defensive gun use relative to other protective strategies and evaluate a novel structural framework that negotiates the etiologic complexity of interpersonal violence.


  • Concatenate nationally representative United States crime victimization surveillance data spanning 1973-2018.
  • Test the effectiveness of defensive gun use strategies on injury outcomes by conditioning on factors that potentiate violence both as a form of self-defense and as a mechanism of injury.
  • Explore how perceptions of offender substance use influence the incidence of self-defensive gun use and injury victimization outcomes.
  • Assess how the timing of victim resistance impacts injury risk using a guided Bayesian approach.


This study will help to address unresolved questions about the personal and public safety benefits of armed resistance to crime.

Investigator Bio

Erik S. Jorgenson, MPH, is a predoctoral fellow in the MSPH Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University. His research focuses on the intersections of violence and health, specifically gun violence prevention and drug-violence connections in American youth. His work emphasizes the use of 'big data' in service of evidence-based policy and practice. His current research uses Bayesian methods to investigate the relationship between modifiable interpersonal behaviors and injury risk.

Grant Amount
Award Type
Columbia University
Erik S. Jorgenson, epidemiology, Columbia University
Expected Completion Date
Early 2021
Year Awarded
Focus Areas
Defensive Gun Use