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Access to Firearms Linked to Elevated Mortality Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 21, 2014

Access to Firearms Linked to Elevated Mortality Risk

By Kelly Young

Firearm access in the U.S. is associated with increased risk for death, both by suicide and homicide, according to a meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers analyzed the results of 15 observational studies that looked at firearm ownership or availability in the home. People with access to firearms had an increased risk for suicide (odds ratio, 3.24), compared with people without access. Firearm access was also associated with being the victim of a homicide (OR, 1.94), and for women, the risk was even higher (OR, 2.84).

An editorialist says that the meta-analysis likely underestimates mortality from firearm access because the authors did not include population-level studies.

Reader Comments (3)

MICHAEL MARSH Physician, office based

I suspect access to hospitals carries an even higher morbidity/ mortality rate. Useless statistic that will be touted blindly by the left.

James Milhollin, MD Physician, Internal Medicine

I have not seen this study, but suspect that an analysis of people who own cars or have access to cars would show that they experience a higher rate of highway deaths. While interesting, this data would not likely make people give up their cars. Instead, we advise patients to drive carefully and wear their seatbelts.

I would like to see the same gun mortality analysis done with a look at properly stored guns instead of just access to guns. No one can argue that a loaded gun just sitting around is a good idea. Responsible gun owners all have secure gun safes and are very careful to ensure that their guns are not easily accessed. Instead of trying to vilify guns, I try to counsel my patients about appropriate gun safety and storage. This is better received and likely more effective than just telling our patients that guns are dangerous and need to be removed from the home.

James A. Strite, Jr. MD Physician, Orthopedics, Retired

How many adverse outcomes were prevented by gun ownership?

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