Access to Guns Increases Risk of Suicide, Homicide: UCSF Meta-Analysis Finds Women at Greater Risk of Being Killed
Someone with access to firearms is three times more likely to commit suicide and nearly twice as likely to be the victim of a homicide as someone who does not have access, according to a comprehensive review of the scientific literature conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco.
The meta-analysis, published online Jan. 20, 2013, in Annals of Internal Medicine, pools results from 15 investigations, slightly more than half of which were done after a 1996 federal law prohibited the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from funding research that could be seen as promoting gun control. The review excluded studies that relied on survey data to estimate gun ownership and focused instead on studies that included more specific information about whether victims had access to guns.
All but two of the studies were done in the United States, where gun ownership is higher than anywhere else in the world and firearms cause an estimated 31,000 deaths each year. The review included studies about deaths by suicide and homicide but not accidental deaths.
Researchers found striking gender differences in the data. When firearms were accessible, men were nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than when firearms were not accessible, while women were almost three times more likely to be victims of homicide.(...more)