Feeds

Study: Packing heat increases odds of being shot in assault

'Guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The US gun-control debate may have both sides shooting their mouths off, gunning for each other, going off half-cocked, and [insert tiresome idiom here], but a group of biostatisticians and epidemiologists decided to cut through the cant and apply rigorous research to one critical question: does carrying a gun increase your safety?

"On average," the researchers concluded, "guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault." The finding was published in an American Journal of Public Health paper entitled, straighforwardly enough, "Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault".

"Although successful defensive gun uses can and do occur," the report contends, "the findings of this study do not support the perception that such successes are likely."

The researchers, all from the University of Pennsylvania, conducted their study with a stated goal of determining "the possible relationship between being shot in an assault and possession of a gun at the time." To do so, they investigated 3,485 shootings "of all types" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from October 15, 2003, to April 16, 2006.

The researchers then excluded self-inflicted, unintentional, and police-related shootings, plus gun injuries of undetermined intent. They further narrowed their study sample by age – no one under 21 and therefore not able to legally own a gun, for example – and other factors, which reduced the sample to 2,073 shootings. They then randomly selected 677 of those for further study, and paired each of those participants with "population-based control participants." A detailed description of the study's painstaking methodology can be found here.

The resulting data, after suitable massaging, revealed a clear result. "[I]ndividuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P < .05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45 (P < .05)."

That's the hard numerical analysis. The paper also offers what it characterizes as "a few plausible mechanisms" by which possession of a gun might increase a person's risk of being involved in a gun assault.

A gun may falsely empower its possessor to overreact, instigating and losing otherwise tractable conflicts with similarly armed persons. Along the same lines, individuals who are in possession of a gun may increase their risk of gun assault by entering dangerous environments that they would have normally avoided. Alternatively, an individual may bring a gun to an otherwise gun-free conflict only to have that gun wrested away and turned on them.

Those explanations, however, will be left to the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Psychology and others to ponder. That institution's biostatisticians and epidemiologists, however, have produced a purely statistical result: if you're packing heat, and someone assaults you with a gun, you're more likely to be shot than if you were unarmed. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.