Sunday 16 December 2012

Gun advocates are wrong

They say more will guns protect us from homicide.

If more guns protected us from homicide, states and countries with more gun ownership and less gun control would have lower gun homicide rates.

The opposite is the case. Harvard studies found that even when you control for poverty, urbanisation and age, there is more gun homicide where there is more gun ownership. 

There are more gun homicides and overall homicides in US states with more gun ownership. That holds for men and women and all age groups, after accounting for rates of aggravated assault, robbery, unemployment, urbanisation, alcohol consumption, and poverty. 

Similar findings hold for high-income countries across the world.

Contrary to claims by gun advocates, Israel is not an example of a country where high gun ownership reduces gun homicide. The US has about 89 guns per 100 people. Israel has about 7 guns per 100 people. Israel severely limits who can own a gun. 

Neither is Switzerland. It has about half as many guns per capita as the US. Everyone serves in the army, and cantons used to let people keep guns at home, but they're moving these guns to depots.

None of this is secret knowledge ...

1. Hepburn L, Hemenway D, Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 2004; 9:417-40. 

2. Miller M, Azrael D, Hemenway D, Household firearm ownership levels and homicide rates across U.S. regions and states, 1988-1997. American Journal of Public Health. 2002: 92:1988-1993

3. Miller, M, Azrael D, Hemenway D, State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003. Social Science and Medicine. 2007; 64:656-64.

4. Hemenway D, Miller M, Firearm availability and homicide rates across 26 high income countries. Journal of Trauma. 2000; 49:985-88.

5. Florida R, The geography of gun deaths,

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