Offensive gun ownership

On September 3, 2008, in health policy, public health, research, by Karen Grepin

When people think about buying a gun, they typically think of a gun as a defensive mechanism to protect themselves against some other sort of crime. A recent perspective in the NEJM, however, suggests that you may be buying more than you gambled for. Gun ownership is associated with higher rates of suicide, namely because if you have a gun handy you might be more likely to attempt suicide (mainly because you may change your mind by the time you think up the right way to kill yourself, and using a gun is quick and easy), and because conditional on attempting suicide, you are much more likely to succeed if you are using a gun. Although not mentioned in this article, Dr. Hemenway has also discussed that if someone intrudes into your home with a gun, and you also own a gun, the intruder is also much more likely to have to use his gun than had he entered into a home with no gun. Based on these arguments, owning a gun is likely to INCREASE and not DECREASE your safety.

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