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11 June 2003

Gun in home kills

At least one statistical study now confirms a popular belief: Keeping a gun in your home greatly increases the likelihood that you'll die from a gunshot wound, according to a study in the June issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

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At least one statistical study now confirms a popular belief: Keeping a gun in your home greatly increases the likelihood that you'll die from a gunshot wound, according to a study in the June issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study by the Violence Prevention Research Group at the University of California at Los Angeles appears in the June issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Findings point to definite link
It found that people who have guns in their homes were almost twice as likely to die in a gun-related homicide and 16 times more likely to use a gun to commit suicide than people who don't have guns in their homes.

These statistics are important within the South African context. According to the 3rd Annual Report of the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System, approximately 1 356 South African children (0-19 years) were killed by firearms in 2001.

Handguns accounted for 40 percent of all domestic homicides and a third of all suicides in the US, the study found.

The study compared 1 720 homicide victims and 1 959 suicide victims over age 18 with other American adults.

A dangerous practice
Keeping guns at home is dangerous for adults regardless of age, sex, or race, study author Douglas Wiebe says in a news release.

Our findings suggest that, when violence occurs and a gun is accessible, the gun may be selected for use over a weapon that is less lethal. That is particularly significant in terms of suicide and domestic violence, Wiebe says.

This study supports widely-debated studies published a decade ago in the New England Journal of Medicine that also linked the presence of a gun in the home to higher rates of suicide and murder. - (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
Protect your child from injury
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