Not Protection

December 15, 2012 3:19 p.m.

Most of us are aware of studies that show that having a firearm in the home increases rather than decreases your chance of violent injury or death — usually through accidents or suicide. I was not aware of this peer-reviewed 2009 study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study which concluded that people in possession of a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault than those who didn’t have a firearm.

In the words of the study: “On average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. Although successful defensive gun uses occur each year, the probability of success may be low for civilian gun users in urban areas. Such users should reconsider their possession of guns or, at least, understand that regular possession necessitates careful safety countermeasures.”

This last part isn’t a rhetorical question. I’m curious to know the real answer. There have been a number of ‘studies’ I’ve seen purporting to substantiate the claim that widespread gun ownership will actually reduce violence. But the ones I’ve seen either come from disgraced amateurs or think tank hacks with zero peer review. Are there any methodologically sound, peer-reviewed studies which show anything like this? Again, serious question.

Non-peer-reviewed studies can still be good — it’s just hard for non-specialists to know if they’re sound. So set aside the peer-review qualification. Are there any studies along these lines from people with any real background in social science or applicable fields of study. In other words, anybody from the reality-based world making this argument?

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