For Immediate Release
Assistant Director: 202-898-0792.
Study Shows Those Armed More Likely To Be Shot
WASHINGTON - A new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers shows that people
in possession of a firearm are almost 4.5 times more likely to be shot
in an assault than people who are not in possession of a firearm. The
study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and
appears in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public
The published conclusions state “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.”
of guns may be in more, not less, danger for a number of reasons,
researchers wrote. Offenders often use surprise to overpower their
victims, making it difficult to use a gun for self-defense; if a victim
is able to draw a gun, it signals to the offender that he must use
maximum force to overpower the victim. In addition, the increased
possibility of guns being carried in the community may lead to an
escalation in the lethality of weapons brought to an argument,
Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, responded to the report as follows:
study’s findings show once again the risks of gun ownership and how
having more guns correlates with more gun violence. This research
severely undermines the argument by gun pushers that carrying a gun
automatically makes a person safer. In urban areas, gun possessors,
far from being protected by their guns, are at an increased risk of
harm. Restrictions on carrying guns clearly makes sense as a smart
public safety strategy.”
The study’s lead author is Charles C.
Branas, of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Firearm
and Injury Center at Penn, University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine. Researchers enrolled 677 case participants who had been shot
in an assault and 684 control participants. The study lasted from
October 2003 through April 2006, was funded by the National Institutes
of Health (NIH) and was published in the November issue of the American
Journal of Public Health.
A study abstract is at www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/AJPH.2008.143099v1.
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