NATIONAL NEWS

Study finds people in homes with handguns are shot to death at higher rate

Apr 4, 2022, 4:25 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:36 pm
FILE - TSA confiscated this gun on May 17, 2021. (Used by permission, Transportation Security Admin...
FILE - TSA confiscated this gun on May 17, 2021. (Used by permission, Transportation Security Administration)
(Used by permission, Transportation Security Administration)

NEW YORK (AP) — Most U.S. gun owners say they own firearms to protect themselves and their loved ones, surveys show. But a study published Monday suggests people who live with handgun owners are shot to death at a higher rate than those who don’t have such weapons at home.

“We found zero evidence of any kind of protective effects” from living in a home with a handgun, said David Studdert, a Stanford University researcher who was the lead author of the Annals of Internal Medicine study.

The study has several shortcomings. For example, the researchers said they could not determine which victims were killed by the handgun owners or with the in-home weapons. They couldn’t account for illegal guns and looked only at handguns, not rifles or other firearms.

The dataset also was limited to registered voters in California who were 21 and older. It’s not clear that the findings are generalizable to the whole state, let alone to the rest of the country, the authors acknowledged.

But some outside experts said the work was well done, important and the largest research of its kind.

“I would call this a landmark study,” said Cassandra Crifasi, a gun violence policy researcher at Johns Hopkins University. “This contributes to our understanding of the potential causal relationship between guns in the home and homicides,” she said.

California is unusual in that it offers gun ownership data and other information not obtainable in almost any other state. That allowed the researchers to follow millions of people over many years to try to better establish what happens when a person begins living in a home with handgun, they said.

The study focused on nearly 600,000 Californians who did not own handguns but began living in homes with handguns between October 2004 and December 2016 — either because they started living with someone who owned one or because someone in their household bought one.

The researchers calculated that for every 100,000 people in that situation, 12 will be shot to death by someone else over five years. In comparison, eight out of 100,000 who live in gun-free homes will be killed that way over the same time span.

“The rates are low” and the absolute risk is small, but it’s important to consider the increase in a person’s risk of being killed, Studdert said.

Those numbers suggest the risk rises 50%, but Studdert said it’s actually higher: In a separate calculation designed to better account for where people live and other factors, the researchers estimated the risk was actually more than twice as high.

Separately, the researchers found that those who lived with handgun owners had a much higher rate of being fatally shot by a spouse or intimate partner. The vast majority of such victims — 84% — were women, they said.

The study was confined to California, but the risk is likely even greater in states with less stringent gun laws and where gun ownership is more common, Crifasi said.
Previous research estimated that nearly 3% of U.S. adults became new gun owners between January 2019 and April 2021, which translates to about 7.5 million Americans.

Of those, about 5.4 million previously lived in a home with no guns.

For decades, studies have shown guns in the home raise the risk of a violent death. Much of that work, including an earlier study by Studdert and his colleagues, focused on suicide.

The new study goes further in addressing the perception that handguns are still worthwhile because of the safety they provide against being murdered, some experts said.

“The reason people have guns in their home is for protection from strangers,” said David Hemenway, director of the Harvard University’s Injury Control Research Center. “But what this is showing that having a gun in the home is bad for people in the home.”
___

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 26: Bleu speak onstage during the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theat...
JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. AP Entertainment Writer

Stars use BET Awards stage to criticize Roe v. Wade ruling

Big stars used the BET Awards stage to strongly criticize the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strip away women’s constitutional protection for abortion.
1 day ago
police, crime, police tape...
Tina Burnside and Jarrod Wardwell, CNN

3 children dead after 911 caller said mother tried to stab them during a house fire in Georgia

Three children are dead and their mother is facing murder charges after allegedly trying to stab her children during a house fire in Georgia.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (Idaho State Police/Facebook)...
Michael Houck

Kearns woman killed in two vehicle crash in Idaho

A Kearns woman has died after being hit by a car while on a motorcycle in Idaho Saturday.
1 day ago
A passenger looks through a window at Dubai International Airport on January 01, 2022 in Dubai, UAE...
Chuck Johnston, CNN

More than 700 flights canceled Sunday

At least 730 flights were canceled across the United States on Sunday evening, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware
1 day ago
Officers respond to the scene after a vehicle fleeing police struck five people in Brooklyn, killin...
Andy Rose and Kiely Westhoff, CNN

Vehicle fleeing police kills a grandmother and injures 4 people, including an 8-year-old

A grandmother was killed and an 8-year-old boy was among four others injured when they were struck by a vehicle fleeing New York police Saturday night.
1 day ago
FILE (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Tie in Alabama GOP race means winner to be selected by lot

Alabama's Republican Party has declared a tie in the primary race for a state Senate seat and says the winner will be chosen by lot.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Study finds people in homes with handguns are shot to death at higher rate