Guns Make Deaths More, Not Less Likely


There is a widespread scientific consensus supported by solid empirical research that the self-defense benefits of gun possession are greatly outweighed by the elevated risk of suicide, of being a homicide victim, and of accidental death that come with gun possession in the context of ordinary American life.  Consider the following results of surveys of nearly complete sample of published, active academic researchers in this area:

[H]aving a gun in the home increased the risk of suicide (84% agree) a gun in the home increases the risk that a woman living in the home will be a victim of homicide (72% agree, 11% disagree) and that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be (64%) rather than a safer place (5%). There is consensus that guns are not used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime (73% vs. 8%) and that the change to more permissive gun carrying laws has not reduced crime rates (62% vs. 9%). Finally, there is consensus that strong gun laws reduce homicide (71% vs. 12%).

Now, it is obviously not true that possession of a gun is riskier than not possessing a gun in all circumstances.  For example, nobody doubts that a soldier in a battle in a war zone is better off with a gun.  So, surely, it a police officer responding to a crime where armed criminals are present.  But, it is very easy to overestimate the benefits of a gun for self-defense, which must be quite extreme to overcome the risks associated with gun possession.

from Wash Park Prophet
via Denver News

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