Gun Ownership Linked To Firearm Homicide, Boston Study


Increased gun ownership leads to more gun-related homicides, according to a new study conducted by the researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health.

The study published online Sept. 12 in the American Journal of Public Health questions the findings of National Rifle Association that previously claimed that higher the registered guns, the lesser the gun violence.

"Understanding the relationship between the prevalence of gun ownership -- and therefore the availability of guns -- and firearm-related mortality is critical to guiding decisions regarding recently proposed measures to address firearm violence,"said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues.

This is considered to be the largest study conducted on the link between gun ownership and firearms violence.

The Boston researchers arrived at a new conclusion after studying data collected in all 50 states between 1981 and 2010.With each 1 percent increase in gun ownership, there was a 0.9 percent increase in a state's gun-related murders.

"In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., last year, many states are considering legislation to control firearm-related deaths," Siegel said. "This research is the strongest to date to document that states with higher levels of gun ownership have disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides. It suggests that measures which succeed in decreasing the overall prevalence of guns will lower firearm homicide rates."

Researchers said that the findings support studies previously conducted on the same topic.  

Other statistics from the study reported in

- Lowest gun ownership levels were observed in Hawaii with 26 percent, while the highest rate, nearly 77 percent was found in Mississippi.

- Gun-related homicide rates were lower in New Hampshire with 0.9 per 100,000 people in New Hampshire, whereas it was nearly 11 per 100,000 in Louisiana.

- The average gun-related murders throughout all states were four gun murders per 100,000 people.

- One positive find of the study was the average gun-related murder rate for all states decreased from 5.2 per 100,000 in 1981 to 3.5 per 100,000 in 2010.

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