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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Study Finds People with Guns More At-Risk for Suicide and Homicide

Posted by on Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:57 PM
  • 113 Replies


A new meta-analysis of gun research unequivocally reveals that proximity to a lethal weapon creates a greater likelihood of bodily harm and death.

Even academics studying firearms, normally allowed to research their subjects above the political fray, their non-partisan motives given the benefit of the doubt, have become embroiled in the most contentious topic in American culture.

The NRA has called out Harvard University for “snake oil research” and warned its membersabout the “unscrupulous propagandists grasping at any opportunity to make a case for their preordained agenda” in their “fact sheets.”

But when it comes to the large and complicated question of whether people with guns are actually safer because of that ownership, the research supports the notion that proximity to a lethal weapon creates a greater likelihood of bodily harm and death.

Now, a new meta-analysis of gun research—the first systematic review of its kind—from the University of California, San Francisco, published in Annals of Internal Medicine today, has seemingly put an end to the debate over safety, at least in terms of suicide and homicide. Pooling results from 15 investigations, researchers found that a person with access to a gun is unequivocally less safe in terms of intentional death. Those with the ability to get to a gun are three times as likely to commit suicide and twice as likely to be the victim of a homicide than people without access. 

Previous studies that include population level estimates have pegged the risks as even higher.

Guns are the most popular and effective method of killing—both of oneself and of others. Around 31,000 die by the gun annually and gun deaths make up over half of all completed suicides and over two-thirds of all homicides.

The study found that access to guns had a different effect on men and women. Men were nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than when firearms were not accessible, while women were almost three times more likely to be victims of homicide.  And while men make up over three quarters of suicides and homicides overall, women with firearm access are more than twice as likely to be a victim of homicide than a man with gun access, mainly because of the increased threat of domestic violence. 

There are a few striking things about this meta-analysis, the first of which is the extreme consensus across the entire body of literature amid reports from agenda-driven groups that often conflict about the safety of keeping firearms in the home.

Dr. Andrew Anglemyer, one of the study’s authors and a U.S. Army veteran, explains that in epidemiology research where all of the available evidence on a subject is synthesized to answer a particular question, the vast majority of the time, the examined research often comes to ambiguous, sometimes contradictory conclusions. What’s unique about this question of gun safety, he says, is that “when I reviewed all of the body of evidence, there isn’t any inconsistency. You at least expect some inconsistency, or contradictory evidence, but that’s not what I see here. We identified 15 studies, and 14 were significantly higher odds of suicide or being a victim of homicide. The only one that didn’t find a significant effect still trended toward a strong effect, it just wasn’t strong enough and was done in New Zealand, which has a proportion of gun owners two-thirds lower than the United States.”

In other words, “there’s not a lot of ambiguity about the risk of being a victim of homicide or suicide and being exposed to a gun or not,” he says.

Gun rights advocates have carefully crafted their defense of guns in these intentional deaths. They basically go like this:  People “have to deal with their problems, not with the group of tools that they have,” and “If you don't have a gun, you'll use something else…there are a million ways to commit suicide." Both quotes come from former NRA President David Keene during a confrontation with a veteran and employee of Media Matters in 2012.

In what may be another blow to this logic, the UCSF study notes that most of the research controlled for mental illness and found that the increased risk of suicide and homicide remained, supporting the well-documented theory of impulsivity as the driving force in these deaths, not mental illness. A 2001 study from the University of Texas-Houston found that a quarter of survivors of near-lethal suicide attempts had contemplated killing themselves for less than five minutes before acting. For half, it was less than 20 minutes.  Anglemyer explains, “a person is very depressed and they come home and there’s a gun readily available and they make a really bad decision…or there’s a bad argument and there happens to be a gun in the house and another bad decision is made.”

And yet, despite the risks, the number of firearm background checks reached a record high last year, and gun manufacturers continue to report booming sales. A majority of these gun owners say they arm themselves for personal safety, but the question lies in the definition of safe. Whether a gun in the home actually decreases the risk of harm from feared crimes is unclear, though Anglemyer calls it “a logical research question.” What can no longer be argued is that a firearm puts the owner and everyone else in the home at risk.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/20/study-finds-people-with-guns-more-at-risk-for-suicide-and-homicide.html

by on Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:57 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:59 PM
1 mom liked this

Gotta love the thug tactics of the NRA: "members, we're warning you!!" 

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jan. 24, 2014 at 4:55 AM
1 mom liked this

This is the stuff that the nuts were trying to say....didnt happen!  

and even though NZ went in the opposite with stats....I think they should still include it rather than dismissing it as being less than two thirds as America.  The fact is...most other sane countries (western) are nearly two thirds less guns per every 100 households give or take 5-6 countries.  So that means 10 other countries are not as strong as well.

Gotta be fair :-) LMAO

Carpy
by Ruby Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 5:25 AM
3 moms liked this

If you believe that Harvard study, then, certainly, you must believe this one as well.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:34 AM
1 mom liked this
That was one study out of dozens to get the results you wanted. I skimmed through that study and she used a bunch of sample sets and variables that would likely get different results. For one thing, a lot of the study focused on eastern Europe if I remember correctly. And it didn't contradict these conclusions as much as it talked about external threats instead of the gun owner using it on himself or other family members. I think it focused mainly on crime deaths.

Quoting Carpy:

If you believe that Harvard study, then, certainly, you must believe this one as well.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

Carpy
by Ruby Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:37 AM
1 mom liked this

And?

Quoting AdrianneHill: That was one study out of dozens to get the results you wanted. I skimmed through that study and she used a bunch of sample sets and variables that would likely get different results. For one thing, a lot of the study focused on eastern Europe if I remember correctly. And it didn't contradict these conclusions as much as it talked about external threats instead of the gun owner using it on himself or other family members. I think it focused mainly on crime deaths.

Quoting Carpy:

If you believe that Harvard study, then, certainly, you must believe this one as well.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf


Karmahappens
by Bronze Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM
6 moms liked this

And I could find or create a study that showed the opposite.  WAY too many factors unaccounted for. Are the guns in the study legally purchased? What do they mean by access to?

And if men are more than 4 times more likely to commit suicide when they have access to a gun, why are police officers not even twice as likely to commit suicide? MALE police officers that is.

This "analysis" says what it's authors want it to say. No more, no less.

GrettieMeh
by Bronze Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:55 AM
3 moms liked this

While sidestepping taking sides or agendas, this is actually pretty common sense.  If you are suicidal and have a gun....  If you want to kill someone and have access to a gun...   A different weapon of course could be used in either case, but guns are, well, direct.

AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:58 AM
2 moms liked this
Because this story offers only looking at the likelihood of someone living in a home with a gun and dying by a gun. No talk of crime fighting or thwarting, just the likelihood of death if in close proximity to a gun.
So even if it could be proven that gun ownership makes you less likely to die as a victim of a violent crime, those numbers will not outweigh the still considerable and high likelihood of death caused by the gun in your own home. So you start off as less safe than the general population just by keeping the gun in your home. You can think there are ways around it or that most of those guys shouldn't have had guns in the first place but it doesnt negate the fact that the presence of the gun doubles or triples your risk of death by gun .


Quoting Carpy:

And?

Quoting AdrianneHill: That was one study out of dozens to get the results you wanted. I skimmed through that study and she used a bunch of sample sets and variables that would likely get different results. For one thing, a lot of the study focused on eastern Europe if I remember correctly. And it didn't contradict these conclusions as much as it talked about external threats instead of the gun owner using it on himself or other family members. I think it focused mainly on crime deaths.



Quoting Carpy:

If you believe that Harvard study, then, certainly, you must believe this one as well.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf


turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jan. 24, 2014 at 8:02 AM
1 mom liked this

I. dont. think. they. get. that.

Quoting AdrianneHill: Because this story offers only looking at the likelihood of someone living in a home with a gun and dying by a gun. No talk of crime fighting or thwarting, just the likelihood of death if in close proximity to a gun.
So even if it could be proven that gun ownership makes you less likely to die as a victim of a violent crime, those numbers will not outweigh the still considerable and high likelihood of death caused by the gun in your own home. So you start off as less safe than the general population just by keeping the gun in your home. You can think there are ways around it or that most of those guys shouldn't have had guns in the first place but it doesnt negate the fact that the presence of the gun doubles or triples your risk of death by gun .


Quoting Carpy:

And?

Quoting AdrianneHill: That was one study out of dozens to get the results you wanted. I skimmed through that study and she used a bunch of sample sets and variables that would likely get different results. For one thing, a lot of the study focused on eastern Europe if I remember correctly. And it didn't contradict these conclusions as much as it talked about external threats instead of the gun owner using it on himself or other family members. I think it focused mainly on crime deaths.



Quoting Carpy:

If you believe that Harvard study, then, certainly, you must believe this one as well.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf



snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM
3 moms liked this

Very interesting study.  It was pretty much what I suspected and what common sense would dictate.

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