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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  • Jonathan Fuller

    A ‘poll’ of scientists is not ‘science’. Facts are rare things and the word should not be used trivially. My gut says guns will kill people more often than ‘save’ people, and I know of a lot of anecdotal data to back that up up, but real live data is weak here. Partly that is due to the NRA, resisting data collection by the CDC and FBI. But it also really, really difficult to get good data. Be careful in smashing this poll in other faces as ‘proof’ of anything. Time to be mellow.

  • nanotab

    I like the results and agree with them, but a sample of 150 doesn’t persuade me of anything on any topic.

    • realnrh

      It was a poll of scientists who have published scholarly works in the last four year on topics regarding firearms, not just a poll of random people. There are only so many people actually publishing on that topic because the Republicans have made a point of attacking the funding for any institution that permits such studies to be conducted.

      • Fat Hubie

        Republicans attacking funding will not be near the magnitude of hell that will follow if loons keep infringing on the inalienable rights of Americans…

        • realnrh

          It’s the loons who keep infringing on the inalienable rights to life and liberty by enabling unconscionably high firearm fatality rates and preventing localities from making their own decisions about firearms. ‘Small government’ doesn’t count to Republicans when people living somewhere else in their state want to go above and beyond the bare minimums.

          • Fat Hubie

            Lo siento. Localities are not free to make decisions based on unconstitutional liberal notions. We never get all that trouble here in the sunny South because more guns equals less crime every time. If you doubt that, try to rob me…

          • realnrh

            I don’t need to; you’re statistically more likely to commit the crime yourself by having the gun in the house. Unlawful discharge of a firearm, suicide, involuntary manslaughter, all much easier when the gun is right there already. And if it was unconstitutional, then the state didn’t need to pass any laws in the first place taking away their right to regulate what their local ‘militia’ is carrying. Republican states want to take away the rights of localities to pass legal, constitutional, common-sense regulations for their own communities.

          • Fat Hubie

            My inalienable rights are not subject to statistics or the whims of localities…

          • realnrh

            The right to join a well-regulated militia to uphold the security of your state is inalienable. The right to walk down the street armed to the teeth is not.

          • Fat Hubie

            You should move to America. I do it every day. Are you some sort of useful idiot Alinskyite…?

          • realnrh

            You should try to learn English. Being allowed in your local community to walk down the street with a rifle over your back is not the same as an inalienable right. Are you some retarded Fox-watcher?

          • Fat Hubie

            “Being allowed” by whom….?
            I see that you are an Alinskyite. You should get out more. Or just move if you have no rights in whatever liberal Utopia you seem to live in….

          • Lumpenproletariat

            “…because more guns equal less crime every time.”

            I would be absolutely fascinated to see your evidence backing up that assertion, señor.

  • DogbiteWilliams

    If providing every individual with a loaded gun would make us safer, then it also follows that providing every organization with nuclear weapons would make us much safer.

  • Fat Hubie

    Surveys, polls, and statistics are the opinions of people who are ill suited to running the lives of others. I will keep my inalienable rights.

  • Jeff Chang

    “David Hemenway, a Harvard professor and director of the Harvard Injury Control Center”

    You mean the same person that said:

    “The gun is a great equalizer because it makes wimps as dangerous as people who really have skill and bravery and so I’d like to have this notion that anyone using a gun is a wuss. They aren’t anybody to be looked up to. They’re somebody to look down at because they couldn’t defend themselves or couldn’t protect others without using a gun.”

    “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.”

    By what degree? It some non-specific general BS, not to scientific. I ask because DGU is about 100,000 cases a year so it should be compared against those suicide victims that would not have killed themselves without a gun.

    “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”

    Why that sounds like some study he published that looked at samples of victims from domestic violence shelters.

    ” that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be (64%) rather than a safer place”

    So we better remove them from the White House correct? I make the statement because it’s relative on WHO own the gun.

    “There is consensus that guns are not used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime”

    So those crimes that involved a firearm would have not occurred without a gun?

    ” that the change to more permissive gun carrying laws has not reduced crime rates”

    Why don’t you ask if carry laws have a causation effect on crime rates?

    “Finally, there is consensus that strong gun laws reduce homicide (71% vs. 12%).””

    Yet, we will not specify what gun laws.

    I can have a five year old commission a better poll.

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