Guns Make Us Less Safe. That’s a Fact.

David Hemenway, a Harvard professor and director of the Harvard Injury Control Center, writes in the L.A. Times that his polling to determine scientific consensus with respect to the relationship between firearms and death rates “won’t please the National Rifle Assn. ”

For example, “one survey asked whether having a gun in the home increased the risk of suicide. An overwhelming share of the 150 people who responded, 84%, said yes.”

“I also found widespread confidence that a gun in the home increases the risk that a woman living in the home will be a victim of homicide (72% agree, 11% disagree) and that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be (64%) rather than a safer place (5%). There is consensus that guns are not used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime (73% vs. 8%) and that the change to more permissive gun carrying laws has not reduced crime rates (62% vs. 9%). Finally, there is consensus that strong gun laws reduce homicide (71% vs. 12%).”

“Of course it’s possible to find researchers who side with the NRA in believing that guns make our society safer, rather than more dangerous. As I’ve shown, however, they’re in the minority.”

“Scientific consensus isn’t always right, but it’s our best guide to understanding the world. Can reporters please stop pretending that scientists, like politicians, are evenly divided on guns? We’re not.”

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