Public Service Announcement - Owning a gun means you are 4.5 times more likely to be shot

by | Oct 2, 2009 09:00 AM ET

People own guns for protection. The idea is that, if someone breaks into your house or mugs you on the street, you will be able to shoot them. The logic seems simple and obvious, but what if this idea is completely wrong?

What if, instead, owning a gun makes it much more likely that you get shot?

Penn Study Asks, Protection or Peril? Gun Possession of Questionable Value in an Assault

In a first-of its-kind study, epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study estimated that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.

How could this be? The article offers no theories, but some possibilities might include:

1) When an assailant sees that the victim has a gun, the assailant takes a "shoot first" perspective.

2) When a victim has a gun, he or she is too confident or cocky, and that attitude leads to a bad reaction in the assailant.

3) The victim is too nervous or too poorly trained to use the gun effectively.

This is not the first study to show that guns are dangerous rather than protective. For example:

Keeping Kids Safe From Gun Accidents

In 2003, more than 2,000 children were killed by firearms, 182 from accidental shootings. Another grim statistic: More than 900 children committed suicide with a gun.

See also:

- How you become a target for street crime

- How handguns work

[[[Jump to previous PSA - many motorcycle helmets with DOT stickers fail the actual tests]]]

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