Friday, October 7, 2016

Understanding Case-Control Studies of Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor

Understanding Case-Control Studies of Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor

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Takeaway Point: Investigation of the studies underlying claims such as “people who keep guns in homes are almost 3 times more likely to be murdered” (Brady Campaign) and “females living with a gun in the home were 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun at home” (New York Times) reveal these assertions to be highly problematic. These simple statistics are not to be taken at face value, for reasons I discuss in this blog entry.In fact, according to the same study cited by the Brady Campaign (Kellermann), people in the case sample were 62 times more likely to be killed in circumstances other than in their own home with a gun they kept there.We are better off distinguishing between homicides involving firearms and suicides involving firearms, since the dynamics of these two acts (notably the effect of gun ownership on the outcomes) are quite different. With respect to the former (homicides), we should focus on the dynamics of gun violence among high-risk individuals, especially those involved in criminal activity and those with a history of non-lethal violence (both of which include but are not limited to domestic violence).More research needs to be done in these areas, especially by individuals less ideologically invested in opposition to guns. Also, those who are ideologically pro-gun might be less reluctant about federal funding of this research if the researchers themselves were more modest about what their findings actually say rather than using oversimplifications to press for political agendas with respect to guns.

go read the whole thing if you follow this stuff --kjs