If there’s a gun in the house, you’re more likely to be a victim of homicide

I find this a surprising and somewhat counterintuitive find:

Among other things, that work revealed that people living in homes where there was a gun faced a 2.7-fold greater risk of homicide (A. L. Kellermann et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 329, 1084–1091; 1993) and a 4.8-fold greater risk of suicide (A. L. Kellermann et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 327, 467–472; 1992).

and I was immediately speculating – is this because people who own guns are more likely to take risks when confronted by an intruder? Is it because intruders are more likely to shoot armed (and potentially dangerous) people? Or are those homicides committed by other people living there and knowing where the gun is? Alas, we won’t find out anytime soon:

Ever since, Congress has included in annual spending laws the stipulation that none of the CDC’s injury-prevention funds “may be used to advocate or promote gun control”.

The gun lobby’s reach grew still wider this year, when the ban was extended to all agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services, including, most prominently, the NIH.

It’s like with drug or environmental policy – there is research that can inform us as to the likely consequences of different policy directions. But because there certain actors stand to gain from certain outcomes, policy is decided by rhetoric, not by facts.

Source: Nature Editorial

This entry was posted in belief systems, gun regulation, science-based policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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