Gun control has become a hot-button issue in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., and a researcher's startling statistic on gun violence in homes has re-emerged in the national debate. Arthur Kellermann, an ER doctor, prominent public health researcher and founder of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, studied gun violence cases in the Seattle area in the 1980s. He found that gun violence in homes was far more often aimed at a person in the household than at intruders.
"In other words, a gun kept in the home was 43 times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used in self-defense," Kellermann told National Public Radio in a recent interview.
The Washington Post magazine reported on Kellermann's findings:
"Out of a total of 743 deaths from firearms ... 398 took place in the home where the gun was kept. Of these, more than 80 percent were suicides, 13 percent were homicides and 3 percent were accidents. Homicide victims were most often shot by family members and roommates. Seven of the 398 deaths were later determined to be in self-defense, and two more involved intruders shot while attempting entry. This meant that there were a whopping 43 suicides, criminal homicides, or accidental gunshot deaths involving a gun kept in the home for every case of homicide for self-protection.'"
The National Rifle Association and other groups pushed back against Kellermann's findings, and Congress started defunding such studies. Many gun control advocates said the NRA was attempting to paint gun violence as purely a criminal problem. Because of the defunding, NPR reported, Vice President Joe Biden's task force on curbing gun violence in America is now having trouble finding relevant statistics on gun violence in America.
What do you think? Is gun violence in the home mostly a product of irresponsible households? Leave us a comment and let us know.
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