Coronavirus Could Make America’s Gun Problem Even Deadlier

(This op-ed was first published in The New York Times on June 11, 2020.)

We studied 26 million Americans over 12 years. Here’s what we learned about gun ownership and suicide.

Millions of Americans have experienced the coronavirus pandemic directly, as they or their loved ones suffered through infection. But for most of us, the experience is defined by weeks and months on end stuck at home. The shut-ins are testing the safety of our home environments. Stress and isolation combined with another feature of American life — easy access to firearms — could form a deadly brew.

Last week we released results of a new study — the largest ever on the connection between suicide and handgun ownership — in The New England Journal of Medicine revealing that gun owners were nearly four times as likely to die by suicide than people without guns, even when controlling for gender, age, race and neighborhood.

(Continue reading the op-ed on The New York Times’ page here.)

David Studdert is a professor at Stanford University, Matthew Miller at Northeastern University, and Garen Wintemute at U.C. Davis.