Skelton: Live with a gun owner? Researchers say that makes you less safe


Publish Date:
June 3, 2022
The Mercury News
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“Living with a handgun owner is associated with substantially elevated risk for dying by homicide,” concludes a Stanford University study of nearly 18 million Californian adults over a 12-year period. The report was released in April.

“We focused on secondhand risks of guns — like secondhand smoke risks,” says David Studdert, the study’s lead author, a health policy and law professor.

“Most of it involves domestic violence.”

“Despite widespread perceptions that a gun in the home provides security benefits, nearly all credible studies to date suggest that people who live in homes with guns are at higher — not lower — risk of homicide,” Studdert said in a statement accompanying the Stanford report.

“The gun industry feeds the impression that people die at home from strangers. It helps sales,” Studdert says.

Another Studdert study two years ago found that “owning a handgun is associated with a dramatically elevated risk of suicide.” The report noted that handguns were used in three-fourths of U.S. suicides in 2018.

And though other methods besides self-inflicted gunshots are used by those who attempt suicide, Studdert points out they are often survivable.

“If you reach for a bottle of tablets, you’re probably going to get a second chance,” he says. “If you reach for a gun, it’s nada.”

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