Saving lives by regulating guns: Evidence for policy (2017)

Gun Violence and Children (2017)



Guns Don’t Deter Crime, Study Finds (2015)

Relationship between the prevalence of guns & homicide rates in the US (2014)

TITLE: Examining the relationship between the prevalence of guns and homicide rates in the USA using a new and improved state-level gun ownership proxy
AUTHORS: Michael Siegel, Craig S Ross, Charles King

ABSTRACT: Determining the relationship between gun ownership levels and firearm homicide rates is critical to inform public health policy. Previous research has shown that state-level gun ownership, as measured by a widely used proxy, is positively associated with firearm homicide rates. A newly developed proxy measure that incorporates the hunting license rate in addition to the proportion of firearm suicides correlates more highly with state-level gun ownership. To corroborate previous research, we used this new proxy to estimate the association of state-level gun ownership with total, firearm, and non-firearm homicides. Using state-specific data for the years 1981–2010, we modelled these rates as a function of gun ownership level, controlling for potential confounding factors. We used a negative binomial regression model and accounted for clustering of observations among states. We found that state-level gun ownership as measured by the new proxy, is significantly associated with firearm and total homicides but not with non-firearm homicides.

Mass Shootings Committed by Concealed Carry Killers (2007-Present)

TITLE: Mass Shootings Committed by Concealed Carry Killers (May 2007 to present)
SOURCE: Violence Policy Center (VPC)

NOTES: This is an index of the total number of people killed by concealed carry killers. There have been 23 reported mass shootings by those legally authorized for concealed carry since 2007.

Firearm Injuries of Children and Adolescents in 2 Colorado Trauma Centers (2013)

TITLE: Firearm Injuries of Children and Adolescents in 2 Colorado Trauma Centers: 2000-2008 (2013).
SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 2013, 309(16):1683-1685. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3354.
AUTHORS: Drs. Sauaia, Miller, Moore, & Partrick

RESEARCH FOCUS: Childrens injury rates from guns.
FINDINGS:  (1) There is a real public health concern for children with access to guns. (2) firearm injures are more likely to result in a death or a treatment in the ICU than other injuries (50.4% of children injured with guns, 50.4% required intensive care, compared with 19.3% for other trauma-related injuries. Some 13.2% died, compared with the 1.7% injured in another way.)
NOTES: data includes period between two mass shootings in the Denver area — the 1999 one at Columbine High School and July’s mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora.

Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence? (2013)

TITLE: Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence? (2013)
SOURCE: Journal of Human Resources
AUTHOR(S): Cheng Cheng & Mark Hoekstra

RESEARCH QUESTION: Do “stand your ground” laws (present in 20 states) deter crimes?
FINDINGS: Results indicate the laws do not deter burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault.  In contrast, they lead to a statistically significant 8 percent net increase in the number of reported murders & non-negligent manslaughters.

Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the USA (2013)

TITLE: Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States
SOURCE: JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(9):732-740. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1286.
URL: / Download the PDF
AUTHORS: Eric W. Fleegler, MD, MPH; Lois K. Lee, MD, MPH; Michael C. Monuteaux, ScD; David Hemenway, PhD; Rebekah Mannix, MD, MPH

FINDINGS: having more laws on the books is associated with having lower rates of firearm-related homicide and suicide.

Responding to the Crisis of Firearm Violence in the US (2013)

TITLE: Responding to the Crisis of Firearm Violence in the United States
SOURCE: JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(9):740. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1292.
AUTHOR: Garen J. Wintemute, MD, MPH


(1) Gun violence in the US is a public health problem: More than 30 000 people are purposely shot to death each year—more than 300 000 since the World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001. Rates of firearm-related violent crime have increased 26% since 2008.

(2) More research and researchers are needed: The government has abandoned its commitment to understanding the problem and devising evidence-based solutions. There’s almost no funding for firearm violence research, and there are almost no researchers.  There are no more than a dozen active, experienced investigators in the United States have focused their careers primarily on firearm violence. Only 2 are physicians. Only 1 has evaluated the effectiveness of an assault weapons ban.  No CDC researcher has done more than occasional work in this field in 15 years.

(3) Motor vehicle connection: In the 1960s, the nation recognized a fast-growing crisis related to motor vehicle traffic fatalities. We created an agency, led by internist-epidemiologist William Haddon, MD, to launch an aggressive research effort and recommend and implement evidence-based interventions. The motor vehicle industry waged what the Supreme Court called the “regulatory equivalent of war” against airbags, one of the most important of those interventions. On airbags and other matters, the industry lost; the public’s health and safety won

States With More Guns Have More Homicides (2013)

TITLE:  States With More Guns Have More Homicides (2013)
NEWS URL (Live Science):
SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health, November 2013, Vol. 103, No. 11, pp. 2098-2105. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301409
AUTHORS: Michael Siegel, Craig S. Ross, and Charles King III.

FINDINGS: Gun ownership was a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates. States with higher rates of firearms in the home have disproportionately big numbers of gun-related homicides.

Protect Children, Not Guns: Gun Violence in the States (2013)

TITLE: Protect Children, Not Guns: Gun Violence in the States, 2000-2010 (2013)
SOURCE: Children’s Defense Fund

FINDINGS: 32k+ youth deaths from gun violence since Columbine, Alaska (most deadly state for youth), Hawaii (least deadly state for youth).
NOTES: Lots of state-by state-data on gun-based homicides/suicides for youth

Street conflict mediation to prevent youth violence: Conflict characteristics and outcomes (2012)

TITLE: Street conflict mediation to prevent youth violence: Conflict characteristics and outcomes (2012)
SOURCE: Injury Prevention
AUTHOR(S): Jennifer M. Whitehill, Daniel W. Webster, Jon S. Vernick

RESEARCH QUESTION: What associations exist between conflict risk factors & successful nonviolent resolution/mediation strategies? (Action Research study in Baltimore totaling 158 cases of conflict that involved youth, gangs, weapons, etc.)
FINDINGS: nonviolent resolution for 65% of mediated conflicts; an additional 23% were at least temporarily resolved without violence.

Non-Gun Owners Taxed $5 Billion Annually For Gun Owners Hobby (2012)

TITLE: Non-Gun Owners Taxed $5 Billion Annually For Gun Owners Hobby (2012)
SOURCE: National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC)

RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the cost to society of gun violence?

FINDINGS: Uses data on costs of responding to gun violence to argue that cost should be born by gun owners. Analogizes auto insurance: societal costs of accidents, regulations, etc. borne by auto owners via insurance.

Number of Police Officers Killed Last 22 Years (2012)

TITLE: Number of Police Officers Killed Last 22 Years; USA 1,132, England 10; Why? (2012)
SOURCE: National Gun Victims Action Council

RESEARCH QUESTION: Why are police killed by firearms much more frequently in USA vs. England?
FINDINGS: Americans should not be allowed to carry guns in public. English criminals can get any gun they want, yet only 10 police officers were killed by guns. Since USA population is 5x England’s, there should only have been 50 police killed by guns in USA during same time frame.

Deaths: National Vital Statistics Report, U.S. DEPT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES (2012)

TITLE: Deaths: National Vital Statistics Report (2012)
LINK: (see p. 19)

FINDINGS: Most homicides are by guns, averaging over 11, 000 per year; most suicides are by guns, averaging 19,500 per year; there’s are over 220 deaths by undetermined causes involving guns each year; there are approximately 32,000 injuries from firearms each year.

Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right (2012)

TITLE: Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right (2012)
SOURCE: The Combating Terrorism Center @ West Point
AUTHOR(S): Arie Perliger

Screen shot 2013-05-17 at 6.28.26 PMRESEARCH QUESTIONS: (1) What are the main current characteristics of the violence produced by the far-right?; (2) What type of far-right groups are more prone than others to engage in violence? How are characteristics of particular far-right groups correlated with their tendency to engage in violence?; and, (3) What are the social and political factors associated with the level of far-right violence?  Are there political or social conditions that foster or discourage violence?

FINDINGS: Three branches of Far-Right Extremism: Racist, Anti-Federalist, Fundamentalist. All three use 2nd amendment to self-justify. Terrorism is an act of symbolic discourse. Ideology and behavior interact within and between three branches. Variability of cause, method of attack, etc. argues for flexible anti-terrorism response. Embracing of far-right ideology by mainstream politicians enhances their sense of legitimacy and empowerment. These factors, not economic disparity, seem to be bigger determinant in far-right violence. Greater community, ethnic, etc. integration an effective technique to combat far-right violence. 42% of violent acts directed against specific human targets.


Protect Children, Not Guns (2012)

TITLE: Protect Children, Not Guns (2012)
SOURCE:  Children’s Defense Fund

FINDINGS: in ‘08 & ‘09, 5,740 kids were killed by guns. Represents yearly  average of 150 accidental deaths of kids, yearly average of 774 child suicides by firearm, & yearly average of 17,193 nonfatal firearm injuries.
NOTES: 87% of those who are under 15 & killed by guns in the top 23 high-income countries lived in the US, 8 children are killed by firearms each day.

Firearm Injuries in the U.S. (2011)

TITLE: Firearm Injuries in the United States (2011)
AUTHOR(S)/SOURCE: Firearm & Injury Center at Penn (University of Pennsylvania)

Screen shot 2013-05-17 at 6.50.08 PMFINDINGS: (1) Firearm injury in the United States has averaged 32,300 deaths annually between 1980 and 2007; (2) Firearms are involved in 67% of homicides, 50% of suicides, 43% of robberies, and 21% of aggravated assaults; (3) In 2008, there were 78,622 nonfatal firearm injuries in the United States, 73% of which were the result of interpersonal violence; (4) Homicides involving gangs (& OTHER ARGUMENTS) constitute a minority of gun homicides; and, (5) LOTS & LOTS MORE!

On Firearm Ownership, Alcohol, & Risk-Related Behaviors (2011)

TITLE: Association between firearm ownership, firearm-related risk and risk reduction behaviours and alcohol-related risk behaviours
PUBLISHED IN: Injury Prevention 2011;17:422-427 doi:10.1136/ip.2010.031443
AUTHOR: Dr Garen J Wintemute, Violence Prevention Research Program, School of Medicine, UC-Davis,

ABSTRACT: Alcohol use and firearm ownership are risk factors for violent injury and death. To determine whether firearm ownership and specific firearm-related behaviours are associated with alcohol-related risk behaviours, the author conducted a cross-sectional study using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for eight states in the USA from 1996 to 1997 (the most recent data available). Altogether, 15 474 respondents provided information on firearm exposure. After adjustment for demographics and state of residence, firearm owners were more likely than those with no firearms at home to have ≥5 drinks on one occasion (OR 1.32; 95% CI 1.16 to 1.50), to drink and drive (OR 1.79; 95% CI 1.34 to 2.39) and to have ≥60 drinks per month (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.14 to 1.83). Heavy alcohol use was most common among firearm owners who also engaged in behaviours such as carrying a firearm for protection against other people and keeping a firearm at home that was both loaded and not locked away. The author concludes that firearm ownership (and specific firearm-related behaviours) are associated with alcohol-related risk behaviours.

Gun Utopias? Firearm Access & Ownership in Israel & Switzerland (2011)

TITLE: Gun Utopias? Firearm Access & Ownership in Israel & Switzerland (2011)
SOURCE: Journal of Public Health Policy (JPHP)
AUTHOR(S): Janet Rosenbaum

RESEARCH QUESTION: Gun advocates claim that mass-casualty events are mitigated & deterred with three policies: (1) permissive gun laws, (2) widespread gun ownership, (3) encouragement of armed civilians who can intercept shooters, & cite Switzerland & Israel as exemplars; is it true?

FINDINGS: Compared with the US, Switzerland & Israel have lower gun ownership & stricter gun laws, & their policies discourage personal gun ownership. The Swiss federal government requires gun permit applicants to demonstrate need for protection against a specific risk & pass weapons safety & firearm use regulation tests. Permit holders may own only one handgun for 6 months, after which they must renew their permit every 3 months. Israel rejects about 40% of gun permit applicants, more than any country in the western world. Israel requires all guns to have an Interior Ministry permit & an identifying mark for tracing, & limits which citizens may apply for a permit, based on their residence, occupation, or role in national defense. Applicants are excluded if they take psychotropic drugs or have been arrested for drug use or domestic violence (even if not convicted), & must also pass a Hebrew language test. Permit holders may own only one handgun & must renew their permit annually or whenever their residence, occupation, or national defense role changes. Switzerland gun owners report higher gun-violence victimization rates than non-gun owners. Israel only 81st out of 179 countries in rate of gun ownership. Only 2% of Swiss military members keep their gun post-service. Israel bans use of personal guns for terrorism or crime prevention.

IMAGES: Reason for owning gun, Switzerland v USA:

Proportion of households with gun, Switzerland v USA:

TAGS: Israel, Switzerland, Ownership rates, gun culture, myths, comparative policies, international


Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home (2011)

TITLE: Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home (2011).
SOURCE: American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM)
AUTHOR: David Hemenway

FINDINGS: (1) scientific studies indicate that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit; (2) there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in.
NOTE: This is a literature review.

Link Between Gun Possession & Gun Assault (2009)

TITLE: Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession & Gun Assault (2009)
SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health
AUTHOR(S): C.C.Branas, et al.
FIELD: Public Health

RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the relationship between possession of gun & being shot in an assault?

FINDINGS: (1) On average, guns have not protected those who possessed them from being shot in an assault; (2) Individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46X more likely to be shot during an assault than individuals who were not in possession of a gun when assaulted; (3) When the victim had an opportunity to defend self (i.e. use gun), an armed victim was 5.45X more likely to be shot than an unarmed victim.



State homicide victimization rates & household gun ownership (2007)

TITLE: State homicide victimization rates in the US in relation to survey measures of household gun ownership (2007)
SOURCE: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
AUTHOR(S): Miller M, Hemenway D, Azrael D.

FINDINGS: Across states, more guns = more homicide, household firearms are a direct & indirect source of firearms used to kill Americans both in their homes & on their streets

Comparing int’l trends in recorded violent crime (2006)

TITLE: Comparing international trends in recorded violent crime (2006)
SOURCE: Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), Crime facts info no. 115

NOTES: (1) The way in which crime is recorded is not necessarily an accurate indicator of differences in actual levels of crime. (2) Rather than indicating a sharp rise in actual violence in England/Wales, the post-1998 increase is largely the direct result of major changes to the way crime data are recorded. First in 1998 and then again in 2002, amendments were introduced to include a broader range of offenses…and to take a more victim-led approach.

This source debunks sources such as Slack (2009):

Guns in the Home & Risk of a Violent Death (2004)

TITLE: Guns in the Home & Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study (2004)
AUTHOR(S): Linda L. Dahlberg, Robin M. Ikeda, and Marcie-jo Kresnow

RESEARCH QUESTION: does having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home & whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home.

FINDINGS: Regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home involves an increased risk of firearm homicide & firearm suicide in the home.

Firearm Availability & Homicide (2004)

TITLE: Firearm availability & homicide: A review of the literature (2004)
SOURCE: Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9(4), pp. 417-440.
AUTHOR(S): Lisa M. Hepburn ; David Hemenway

FINDINGS: (1) Where there are more guns there is more homicide; (2) males commit approximately 90% of all homicides & representing 75% of the victims; (3) households with firearms are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

ON Gun Registration, the NRA, Hitler, & Nazi Gun Laws (2004)

SOURCE: University of Chicago Law School
AUTHOR(S): Bernard E. Harcourt

RESEARCH QUESTION: Does Nazi Germany provide evidence that gun registration leads to loss of rights, oppression, etc.?

FINDINGS: Many Americans have internalized belief despite lack of evidence. Gun laws in Germany at the time were fluid & complex. Hitler first expanded rights, then restricted rights of CERTAIN CLASSES of citizens, which is not a fair comparison to USA, which seeks to regulate ALL CLASSES of citizens equally. Gun lobby uses comparisons to Nazi Germany, however, they fail logically in 3 ways:

(1). Comparing white, male, protestant gun owners in USA to Jews of 1930s Germany is not equivalent.

(2). NRA says “guns don’t kill, people kill”, which means “guns are things, things don’t do damage.” BUT they use Nazi Germany analogy to oppose gun registration, saying “gun registration will take away rights”. However, “gun registration” is a “thing”, not a person, therefore incapable of this via their logic. So, either “things DO kill” OR “gun registration is not bad”.

(3). Nazi goal was FIRST to oppress Jews. THEN they used legal (& extralegal) methods to make it happen. Not the other way around. That is, Oppression came before Disarming Jews.

England & USA have many historical “gun registration” laws, back to 1600s, yet both became/are arguably freest nations in world. Gun registration laws in USA have survived several constitutional/legal challenges. Fear of gun registration is a cultural phenomena- a culture war.

NOTES: Some history of Colonial American & British gun control laws. There were many.


Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Fatality (2003)

TITLE: Homicide, Suicide, & Unintentional Firearm Fatality: Comparing the United States With Other High-Income Countries (2003)
SOURCE: Journal of Trauma; 70:238-43
AUTHOR(S): Richardson, E. G. S.M.; Hemenway, D., PhD


The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher. The US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher than in the other countries. The US unintentional firearm deaths were 5.2 times higher than in the other countries. Among these 23 countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86% of women killed by firearms were US women, and 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.

Rates of Household Firearm Ownership & Homicide Across US Regions & States, 1988–1997 (2002)

TITLE: Rates of Household Firearm Ownership & Homicide Across US Regions & States, 1988–1997 (2002)
SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health
AUTHORS: Matthew MillerDeborah Azrael, & David Hemenway

FINDINGS: Across states, more guns = more homicide, “ in areas where household firearm ownership rates were higher, a disproportionately large number of people died from homicide.”

Common Sense About Kids and Guns (1997-2002)

TITLE: Common Sense About Kids & Guns (1997-2002)

FINDINGS: (1) 4 children died every day in non-homicide firearm incidents (2) 40% of American households with children have guns (3) 36% of teenagers (12-19) say they could obtain a handgun if they wanted to, including 47% of high school students (60% of boys) said they could obtain a gun if they wanted to, (4) etc, etc (there’s more!)

NOTES: Compilation of lots of 1997-2002 source data, most from the CDC.

More Guns, More Crime (2000)

TITLE: More Guns, More Crime
AUTHOR(S): Mark Duggan
SOURCE:  National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

FIELD(S):  Economics

RESEARCH FOCUS/QUESTION: Relationship between gun ownership & crime.
FINDINGS: (1) The gun ownership rate is positively correlated with the homicide rate; (2) The gun ownership rate has no significant bearing on rates of other crimes. (3) Concealed Carry laws do not reduce crime.

Firearm Availability & Homicide Rates in 26 countries (2000)

TITLE: Firearm availability & homicide rates across 26 high-income countries (2000).
AUTHOR(S): David Hemenway & Matthew Miller

FINDINGS: Nations offering easiest access to guns also have most gun violence. Among developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership, & the highest homicide rate. There’s a strong & statistically significant association between gun availability & homicide rates; where guns are more available, there are more homicides.

Community firearms and community fear (2000)

TITLE: Community firearms & community fear (2000)
SOURCE: Epidemiology, 11(6), pp. 709-714.
AUTHOR: Miller MAzrael DHemenway D.

FINDINGS:  By a margin of more than 3:1, citizens feel less safe, not safer, when others in their community acquire guns. Of 2,500 random respondents, just 14% reported they would feel more safe with more guns in their neighborhoods.

Characteristics of automatic or semi-automatic firearm ownership (1997)

TITLE: Characteristics of automatic or semi-automatic firearm ownership (1997)
SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), 87(2): 286–288
AUTHOR(S): D Hemenway and E Richardson

FINDINGS: (1) Owners of semi-automatic guns are more likely to binge drink & live in the South than other gun owners; (2) 60% of gun owners reported owning an automatic or semiautomatic firearm

NOTE: Data collected from 800 random telephone surveys.

The American public and the gun control debate (1996)

TITLE: The American public & the gun control debate (1996)
SOURCE:  Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 275(22):1719-1722.
AUTHOR(S): Robert J. Blendon; John T. Young; David Hemenway

FINDINGS: US public generally support government regulation of guns as consumer products

Firearms and community feelings of safety (1995)

TITLE: Firearms & community feelings of safety (1995)
SOURCE: The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (JCLC), 86(1), pp. 121-132.
AUTHOR(S): David Hemenway, Sara J. Solnick and Deborah R. Azrael

FINDINGS:  By a margin of more than 3:1, citizens feel less safe, not safer, as others in their community acquire guns

I am the NRA: an analysis of gun owners (1993)

TITLE: I am the NRA: an analysis of a national random sample of gun owners (1993)
SOURCE: Violence & Victims, 8(4), pp. 367-385
AUTHOR(S): Weil DSHemenway D.

FINDINGS: NRA members support many regulatory proposals… (1) a majority of both NRA members favored a waiting period for the purchase of a handgun (77%) and mandatory registration for handguns (59%).

NOTES: Also see related study, “A response to Kleck (NRA). Violence & Victims “(1993)