Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home

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Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home

Category: Crime, Defensive Gun Use, Firearm Availability, Homicide, Suicide, Unintentional|Journal: American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (full text)|Author: D Hemenway|Year: 2011

This article summarizes the scientific literature on the health risks and benefits of having a gun in the home for the gun owner and his/ her family. For most contemporary Americans, scientific studies indicate that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit. The evidence is overwhelming for the fact that a gun in the home is a risk factor for completed suicide and that gun accidents are most likely to occur in homes with guns. There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes. On the benefit side, there are fewer studies, and there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in. Thus, groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics urge parents not to have guns in the home.

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