DISCLAIMER: These facts are gonna piss off the gun nuts:
The old pro-gun adage of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” might be arguably true. However, reanalysis of data on gun owners shows that while guns do require people to operate them, the individuals most likely to die are those who actually have guns in the home. In fact, researchers have found murder and suicide to be three times more common in homes with firearms than without.
A Shocking Discovery
Within the Annals of Internal Medicine study itself, an even more discouraging data set has come to light:
The availability of firearms in the home may not be the catalyst for suicidal ideation, but firearms may be a preferred method of suicide among those who have suicidal thoughts. [They] found that adolescents with firearm access were no more likely to have suicidal thoughts or a suicide plan in the past 12 months than those without firearm access. However, among adolescents with a suicide plan, those with a firearm in the home were more than 7 times more likely to have a plan involving firearms than those without a firearm in the home (OR, 7.39 [CI, 2.04 to 26.84]).
This means that the stale discussion of having a gun in the home to protect one’s family and property is entirely counter-intuitive. If kids are no more likely to have suicidal thoughts whether or not a firearm is available, but they’re more than 700% more likely to plan it with a gun when one is around, how does society even begin to address that statistic? Not to mention the tripled success rate of those plans.
With studies that show the beneficial effect ofproper storage on teen suicide and murder rates? They put it pretty bluntly in their conclusion:
The 4 practices of keeping a gun locked, unloaded, storing ammunition locked, and in a separate location are each associated with a protective effect and suggest a feasible strategy to reduce these types of injuries in homes with children and teenagers where guns are stored.
That Should Be Enough, Right?
Actually, no. That piece was published in 2005 and gained very little attention. Maybe it’s time for the NRA to stop worrying about what guns are selling and to start providing real, applicable advice and news showing how to own a gun like the hundreds of thousands of responsible firearm owners in the United States.
If they don’t, empirical data and the ethos of America will continue to grow more support in favor of strict firearm regulation. With studies like the one from the Annals of Internal Medicine being published, our home-defendin’ friends, neighbors and relatives have less and less ground to stand on.