Does Having a Gun in the House Increase the Odds of a Violent Death?

I have heard, over and over, from some of my anti-gun friends that having a gun in the house results in twice the odds of suffering a violent death.

Their view is that, somehow, that gun will be used on you and your risk is increased because it is present in the house. On the surface, this makes sense. In reality, a review of the research shows that the research is severely flawed as it is based on flawed data.

The issue with the data, as provided by the CDC, is that it does not differentiate between legal gun owners and illegal gun owners and criminals. I absolutely love that this was recently pointed out here. I really got a kick out of the author’s comparison between two people that have a gun in their home:

  1. The drug dealer that is not only armed, but also has multiple illegally obtained guns.
  2. The private citizen known as Uncle Jerry that has hunting rifles and shotguns and a pistol stored in biometric safe.

A quick review of these two different situations clearly shows that by not separating them, the data becomes muddled and has far less meaning. It is clear that living in the home with the drug dealer will increase the odds of a violent death. It will probably be a huge difference. Then you compare it to a law abiding and responsible gun owner, and it is clear that these two homes are incredibly different and share very little as far as risks around a violent death.

It isn’t the tools in the house that create additional risk, it is the users of those tools.

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