The best modern research is by Lott, his research has stood up to peer review, with the only real dispute being if the results show a decrease in crime from concealed carry or no statistically significant decrease. But Lott has been so thoroughly demonized by the left that using his research is not accepted by the left as they will just say it has been debunked and throw in a couple of quotes from gun control advocates without researching the fact the critics they quote are gun control hacks and that there has been no serious academic refutation of his data or research. However, what his research is still golden for is to use his criticisms of other research to point out the flaws and failures in the reports and research of gun control advocates.
There is however nothing wrong with Kleck or older research that has not been seriously refuted. The following referenced work on guns and gun control will give you all the ammo you need to refute any gun control argument.
Per the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics - a firearm is the single most effective means of self defense and the only means of self defense that results in fewer injuries than non-resistance or not defending one’s self. A firearm is also the single most effective means of self defense when it comes to preventing the completion of a crime; particularly important when the crime is assault, rape, or murder. From research by Kleck
The National Academy of Sciences issued a 328-page report based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a survey of 80 different gun-control laws and some of its own independent study. In short, the panel could find no link between restrictions on gun ownership and lower rates of crime, firearms violence or even accidents with guns. The panel was established during the Clinton administration and all but one of its members were known to favor gun control. From the National Academy of Sciences.
The previous Assault Weapons and magazine ban per the governments own studies on its effects, (the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Research Council in 2004), concluded that they could find no significant measurable impact on reducing crime. From the CDC and NRC.
Surveys consistently show that hundreds of thousands of people if not millions use a gun to defend themselves every year. Thirteen surveys by researchers, (none of whom were affiliated with the NRA or other pro-gun organizations but some of whom were affiliated with gun control organizations), have found the anywhere from 800,000 to 2.5 million people use a gun in self-defense each year. The federal governments own survey for the Department of Justice resulted in an estimate of 1.5 million defensive gun uses per year.
From research by Kleck.
The salient points are:
Guns are the only truly effective means of self defense
Guns are often used in self defense by average citizens
There is no evidence that gun control laws reduce crime
Guncite is a website where you can start to glean information on research and find references for further research.