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Alarming Stanford Study: Living with a Handgun Owner Makes Someone More Than Twice as Likely to Die By Homicide

Study Released Monday Highlighted the Risks Associated with Living with a Handgun Owner; The Likelihood of Being Shot and Killed by a Spouse or Intimate Partner was Seven Times Higher for People who Lived with Handgun Owners

CHICAGO — A new study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine found that Californians who lived with handgun owners were twice as likely to die by homicide compared with those living in homes without guns. The study, which was led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, identified a particularly drastic increase in the chances of gun death for the spouses and intimate partners of handgun owners. The new research adds to a growing body of evidence that families – and particularly women – are safer in homes without firearms.

“Often, gun enthusiasts try to discount research by claiming that it ignores how guns may have been used for protection,” said Nina Vinik, founder and executive director of Project Unloaded. “But Stanford researchers looked into whether people living with guns had a lower risk of being killed by strangers, and the answer was a resounding no. It’s clear from this study that guns in the home pose a risk not just to the gun owners, but to other members of the household as well, without any apparent protective effect.”

The study, which tracked homicide rates among more than 17 million Californians from 2004 to 2016, was released just days after California was once again rocked by gun violence, as a mass shooting early Sunday morning in Sacramento killed six people and wounded a dozen more. Gun sales often spike following mass shootings or other high profile gun deaths, in part because of Americans’ deeply held view that guns make us safer. This research confronts that myth directly and makes it clear that having guns makes Americans at greater risk of experiencing gun violence.

Key findings from the Annals of Internal Medicine report include:

  • The likelihood of dying by homicide is more than twice as high for people living in homes with handgun owners, compared to those living in homes without guns

  • Living with a handgun owner makes it seven times more likely that a person will be killed by their spouse or intimate partner, and women are overwhelmingly the victims in these killings.

  • People living with handgun owners were 5 times more likely to be shot at home by a friend or family member, compared with people in gun-free homes.


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