Tags: gun | violence | study | arms

Study to Consider Whether Being Armed Can Prevent Gun Violence

Monday, 22 Jul 2013 01:12 PM

By Greg Richter

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A government report ordered by President Barack Obama will look into the causes of gun violence and how it can be prevented. Among the questions it will consider is whether people who are armed are less likely to be harmed by their attackers.

Obama issued an executive order in January calling for the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Recent, highly publicized, tragic mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; Oak Creek, Wisc. and Tucson, Ariz., have sharpened the American public's interest in protecting our children and communities from the harmful effects of firearm violence," according to the report.

The document overview — Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,"  — states that previous "studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was 'used' by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies."

An article published in the NRA News said "If the president was looking to the CDC report for support on how to reduce the threat of firearm-related violence through legislation restricting the rights of American citizens, he was sorely disappointed."

A task force document also noted that most firearm violence does not result in death.

In 2010, for example, some 105,000 Americans where injured or killed by guns, but more than two times as many suffered nonfatal wounds as those who were killed.

Most deaths from guns were the result of suicide, not homicide.

"Between the years 2000 and 2010, firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States," the report said.

The task force report also noted that most felons get their guns from what researchers described as "informal sources," and that stolen guns account for a small percentage of those used by convicted criminals.

"Whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue," the report said.

Researchers said that it was still unclear whether passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violent crime and that "gun turn-in programs are ineffective."

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the study had already been completed and had determined that guns in the possession of would-be victims were effective in stopping attackers with guns.

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