Having A Gun In The Home Doubles Chances Of Homicide, But Keep Talking About How Safe It Makes You Feel

81724842Proximity to a firearm increases likelihood of violence – this has been proven by a large study by the University of California, San Francisco.  Does that shock anyone? It’s never shocked me, but there are always those who argue that a gun in the home actually makes them feel safer.

A new meta-analysis of gun research—the first systematic review of its kind—from the University of California, San Francisco, published in Annals of Internal Medicine today, has seemingly put an end to the debate over safety, at least in terms of suicide and homicide. Pooling results from 15 investigations, researchers found that a person with access to a gun is unequivocally less safe in terms of intentional death. Those with the ability to get to a gun are three times as likely to commit suicide and twice as likely to be the victim of a homicide than people without access.

Although 31,000 people die from gun-inflicted wounds annually and gun deaths make up over half of all suicide deaths and over two-thirds of all homicides – there is still a very loud chorus of those who insist having a gun in the home makes them safer. It may make them feel safer, but the results of this meta-analysis prove that they definitely aren’t.

You’ll always hear the arguments – if someone wants to kill someone they can use a different weapon and if someone is intent on killing themselves there are many other avenues. This argument doesn’t change the fact that guns remain the most popular and effective way of ending lives. Also, this: “In what may be another blow to this logic, the UCSF study notes that most of the research controlled for mental illness and found that the increased risk of suicide and homicide remained, supporting the well-documented theory of impulsivity as the driving force in these deaths, not mental illness.”

It is particularly disturbing to see how gun violence affects men and women differently: “Men were nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than when firearms were not accessible, while women were almost three times more likely to be victims of homicide.”  Men make up the majority of homicide deaths, but women with firearm access are more than twice as likely to be the victim of homicides – due to domestic violence. But I guess there will always be the anecdote of the woman who effectively staved off an attacker with a gun. Or the the impenetrable gun safe that every responsible owner believes they own.

What do we do with results of a study like this? If you’re a gun owner, I’m going to guess that you are going to think of all the reasons to believe that although a sweeping meta-analysis proves you are not safer with guns in the home – your family is an exception. While I really, really hope you’re right – I’m going to remained “safely” unarmed.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • staferny

      I don’t feel safer with guns in my house. If I were in a position that I needed to get to it quickly to defend myself I’d be screwed, it’s in a gun safe with trigger locks and disassembled (where possible) and the ammo is in a totally different location.
      The Louisville slugger under my bed makes me feel safe.

      • ktbay

        My mom still won’t let me have my bat from middle school softball. She is convinced it’s going to save her.

      • Mel

        It may not save her (I hope it does if it comes to it) but it certainly won’t accidentally kill her.

      • Rachel Sea

        Unless she trips over it in the middle of the night. My wife’s bat rolled out from under the bed after a little earthquake and I almost brained myself falling over it.

      • CMJ

        I am sure you can accidentally die from a baseball bat….it’s definitely not common, but it is possible.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I once tripped over a heavy part of one of my husband’s pool sticks (he used to play in leagues or whatever, and this thing is much heavier than I imagined it would be when I saw it) and I totally gave myself a black eye. I could definitely see some crazy accidents happening with a bat. Probably to me, because I am clumsy as hell.

      • Tinyfaeri

        Ouch. I up-voted that out of support for the clumsy. I used to fall up stairs all the time (don’t ask), so I still go up them ridiculously slow.

    • Anthony Davis F/C

      Aren’t there fallacies to this study/logic? (BTW, I’m no gun nut, don’t own one, don’t plan on it)

      But for example, people who own guns for protection may be targets and maybe at higher risk for being victims of crime. Such as a person who has a stalker, a drug dealer, people who live in dangerous neighborhoods. Of course these people will skew the number.

      I live in an upper middle class neighborhood with cops who’ll pull you over if you are not driving a car that costs $30,000 or more. I have no need for a gun because the cops will be at my home in under a minute of dialing 911 (as my neighbor told me). But I can see if you live in a high crime area, it may be worth a risk.

      BTW, the suicide numbers are irrelevant. Suicides are completely controllable, murders, by definition, are not.

      • LadyClodia

        How is suicide irrelevant? The point is that someone was killed with a gun because it was available; it doesn’t matter that the killer and the victim are the same person. Suicide isn’t always planned, and the convenience of a gun is definitely a deciding factor. I shudder to think what I might have done to myself as a teenager had there been a gun in the house.

      • brebay

        Exactly. Many other suicide attempts fail because someone changes their mind or panics after they swallow the pills, cut their wrists, etc. and summons help in time to get to the ER. There is no going back with a gunshot, which is why it’s the most successful means of completing suicide.

      • Andrea

        Very recently, my mother attempted suicide by swallowing a whole bunch of pills. She did not succeed because we found her on time. If there had been a gun in the house, she’d be dead.

      • Maria Guido

        That’s terrible. I’m sorry.

      • pixie

        A really close friend of mine did the same thing back in December and thankfully her roommate/our other friend found her and brought her to the hospital. If she’d had another means to do it, I’m sure she would’ve tried that instead.
        I hope your mother is getting better and some help for both your sake (and your family’s) and hers.

      • Andrea

        It’s a daily struggle.My mother is severely bipolar. She was on Lithium for decades and that was a miracle drug and pretty much the ONLY thing that had any kind of effect on her. However, there is a price to pay for that. Her liver and kidneys are pretty much shot and she can no longer be on that. So nothing much works.
        And I am also told that us women have a harder time processing medicine after menopause, so there is that too.
        Sorry, we are getting off topic.

      • LadyClodia

        I’m sorry, that must be so difficult.

      • Mel

        I upvoted b/c I agreed with the sentiment, obviously not b/c of your mother’s incident. I just want to be clear.

      • Andrea

        Ha ha, understood! No worries.

      • Magrat

        “Suicides are completely controllable, murders, by definition, are not.” That doesn’t even make sense. FWIW, I knew someone who killed his girlfriend and himself in a fit of rage. It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t “controllable.” They’d both still be alive if he hadn’t had easy access to a gun at the worst possible moment.

    • Andrea

      Nothing, and do mean NOTHING, is going to change the minds of people that own guns.
      I feel bad for the children, who are given no choice on this matter.

      • staferny

        It’s a matter of responsible gun ownership, not the guns themselves. As a child I was taught about guns, to respect the damage they cause, and never, ever to touch them. Not to mention I couldn’t get my hands on them if I tried.

      • Andrea

        There are several things here:
        (1) I actually don’t believe that most children can be kept away from guns. When they are little, assuming the guns are in a safe and locked place, yes. When they are teens and specially boys, I don’t think it’s possible. I believe that the combined IQ of a group of teenage boys actually goes down when they get together. I don’t really think there is a safe in the world that can keep teenage boys out of it. (and yes, I am exaggerating a little, I know some safes require a fingerprint, but I don’t think very many gun owners have those)
        (2) That also assumes most people keep their guns secure. I don’t know the numbers, but considering the sheer number of “accidents” that are reported every year, I somehow doubt it is the majority.
        (3) Then there is the issue of accessing it. If the gun is secure, as almost every gun owner assures us it is, then what good is it in an emergency? By the time you open the lock, find the gun, load the gun, and point the gun, you might as well have left the premises and called 911.

      • Mikster

        Try our bank safe then, that had to be brought in by rigger and crane.

      • Andrea

        *eye roll*

      • Rachel Sea

        Most people can’t afford those, and most of the gun safes which are affordable are jokes. I had a hell of a time finding a safe, and ended up having to buy one that was much, much bigger than I needed, because every safe that was the right size for a handgun and a boy’s rifle was easily opened with a claw hammer.

      • Jessica Johnson

        Yes! What is up with that? I have 2 guns: a .22 revolver that was my Grandpa’s, and a 99 Savage (it’s a rifle) that was my husband’s great grandfather’s. Any “gun safe” that’s affordable and big enough to store them in is a joke. No fireproofing, locks that I could pick with a bobby pin, the thinnest sheetmetal known to man, and gaps around the door for Pete’s sake. I’d be better off with an old metal filing cabinet, it’d be less rickety. Heck, a glass-fronted display case would be more useful: at least dust has a hard time getting in those. I’m more worried about ammo exploding if the house catches fire than I am about my kids messing with the guns, but a fireproof safe big enough for a rifle is pretty much one of those things that I could only afford if I hit the lottery. So I have a small file-sized fireproof that the .22 and ammo live in, along with out important documents.

      • Rachel Sea

        When I was a kid my sister and I broke into her dad’s gun safe by listening to the tumblers with a stethoscope, after seeing someone do it on tv. It took a bunch of tries, but we did it.

      • Andrea

        And there you have it. Thank goodness nothing else happened.

      • Rachel Sea

        We didn’t touch his guns, but if we were less obedient, or more ignorant, or he was less scary, we might have made a horrible mistake.

      • staferny

        (1) With the exception of kids who break into them using stethoscopes it is possible to keep kids out. I have a large family, everyone is my family has guns and everyone has kids, none of us tried to get at our parents guns. There were some boys in my school that got ahold of a chainsaw at a party and one guy took a chunk out of his brothers leg so I do agree with teenage boys being stupid but not that you can’t keep kids away from guns
        (2) I agree, there are probably a lot of people that don’t keep their guns secure, I am just basing my opinion off of people I know and what I’m aware of that has happened in my town, where I haven’t heard of a gun “accident”, ever. There may have been but I didn’t hear about it.
        (3) As I said in my first comment, they don’t make me feel safer because I know I can’t get to them in time, they’re locked down. I don’t use my guns for personal protection. They were used for hunting and now they’re used at the range only. Plus they’re all rifles or shotguns so I can’t really conceal one to carry for protection.

      • Tinyfaeri

        You make it sound like people who don’t own guns are automatically more open-minded. They aren’t. Nothing is going to change minds on either “side” – as if there were only two sides, and they’re always at complete odds with each other. There aren’t and they aren’t. Hyperbole doesn’t help anyone’s argument.

      • Mel

        I have to admit, you’re right. Nothing is going to change my mind about the fact that guns kill people, people who are around guns are in danger, and kids and women are in danger by living in a house with a gun. Guilty. No NRA nonsense is going to change it. I’m absolutely close-minded about the fact that guns are designed to kill and I refuse to knowingly be around them.

      • Tinyfaeri

        Thank you for proving my point.

      • Mel

        You’re very welcome! You didn’t trick me there. I admitted to agreeing with you. And, you prove everyone’s points about facts not getting in the way of a good old fashioned pro-gun argument. We both win.

      • Tinyfaeri

        What are you talking about? You’re using as much rhetoric as anyone. The only way to get comprehensive gun reform in the US is to have an actual conversation complete with compromises. Spouting off knee-jerk, all-or-nothing, black-and-white crap like you did helps nothing and no one, and will accomplish no more for making the world safer than the NRA’s propaganda. But please, continue feeling smug and oh, so self-righteous. I’m sure it will help lead to real change.

      • Mel

        Yep, we agree again. I’m smug and self-righteous b/c no one will ever be accidentally or purposefully shot and killed by me. Man, we are on a roll!

      • Tinyfaeri

        Sigh. Way to miss the point. It’s not worth talking to you anymore, you’re part of the problem you claim to want to see fixed.

      • Mel

        Okay, thanks. It’s not a “claim.” I really do want to see gun violence gone. Have a nice, gun-filled life. All snarking aside, I do hope you remain safe (in general and with regards to guns.)

      • Natasha B

        You know what would help bring gun violence down? Yes, better background checks and education. Also, some real changes in our mental health care system, some serious interventions in high risk inner cities with gangs and drug rings, pulling kids out of poverty, some serious, serious work on domestic violence and abuse (fists kill, too), and stopping bullying 100%. Changing people’s mindset that it’s ok to hurt another person. Stopping rape/hate crimes. Then gun violence will go down. Not removing guns from responsible owners.

      • Magrat

        What compromises? Every time anyone tries to push through the smallest amount of gun control, the gun lobby goes apeshit.

      • Tinyfaeri

        That’s not entirely true. There are groups like the Sandy Hook Promise that are making some headway, like with the bill coming up in NH to expand background checks to private sales. They aren’t doing it with snarky comments and sweeping generalizations, they’re doing it bit by bit because the only way this happens is bit by bit.

        But then look at CO – the recent recall election that was held for the folks who passed the gun reforms. Hardly anyone who supported the rather tame reforms (the majority) bothered to show. Apathy and wasting time being snarky to feel better about one’s self in the comments section on an already rather liberal blog are doing more harm to the movement to enact more responsible gun control laws than the NRA ever could.

      • Magrat

        Unfortunately, on a federal level there’s no headway. The ATF is practically unfunded, and has had much of its authority removed by Congress, so it can’t even enforce the laws that do exist.

      • Tinyfaeri

        What’s your point?

      • Magrat

        That it isn’t “compromise” if we have to fight tooth and nail for it, and there isn’t much hope of compromise if the government won’t even inspect gun sellers to make sure they’re following the laws that are already on the books. I don’t know specifically what happened in the CO recall, but I do know that NRA money talks pretty big in politics.

      • Tinyfaeri

        Who said it was going to be easy? And who elects the government? (hint: it doesn’t just magically appear and rule us against our wishes) I’m not coming back to this post again, best of luck to you.

      • staferny

        Why are only kids and women in danger by living in a house with a gun? There are plenty of women who have shot their husbands.

      • Mel

        I didn’t say “only” women and kids. That’s absurd. Of course there are women who shoot their husbands. You’re kind of making my point a little bit by agreeing that guns are so available that everyone can use them to kill. That’s beside the point. I was referencing the article’s discussion of domestic violence in the home. That, I hope we can all agree, disproportionally affects women and children. That’s why I singled them out in my examples.

      • staferny

        Yes, domestic violence affects women and children more than men but just because there is a gun in a house it’s doesn’t mean “holy shit they’re all going to die”. If someone has their mind set on killing someone anything can be used as a weapon.
        I’m just going to agree to disagree with you’re point of view on this subject, lets just leave it at that.

      • Mel

        I’m the one accused of hyperbole and overreaction, yet it’s fine for you to act like I’m claiming that the presence of a gun means “holy shit they’re all going to die”? Yeah, that sounds fair and balanced. Look, I made a point about domestic violence. I was reacting to the point in the article about domestic violence. If that’s a “point of view” with which you have a problem, then you’ve made the right decision that we should go our separate ways.

        I’m just exhausted from the nonsensical personal attacks and accusations here. I never said the people who have guns are evil, I said the guns are evil. Guns are used to kill people. Therein lies my entire problem and argument. If I am considered to be using hyperbole and overreacting because of that, then so be it. I’ll sleep just fine knowing that. I’m just disappointed that once again, the argument has turned to this – nitpicking each other to death and missing the forest for the trees. Doesn’t do a lot to restore any lost faith in humanity.

    • Kay_Sue

      Meh, I have guns because I enjoy having them. I enjoy shooting, and it’s a sport I find entertaining. And I do have to admit, being able to have one handy when an inmate from our state institution who was charged with double murder escaped last month made me feel safer. It was a peace of mind I would not have had otherwise. You guys are welcome to judge that how you will, but that’s how it is.

      • k

        Same here. My father was a cop and had his service arm and one he inherited from his grandfather in the house locked away in an undisclosed location. He explained to me how scary and dangerous they could be misused so I was never curious. Now that I am an adult, I took a few safety courses before I owned a handgun, and it’s in gun safe, unloaded, with trigger locks. I respect other people’s reason for hating guns and I do believe the government needs to step way the hell up with doing thorough background checks and implement more policies so it reduces the chance they’re in the wrong hands. I might not be safer in my home with a gun, but I believe responsible people should have the right to own one if they choose.

      • jane

        I am as anti-gun as they get, and I 100% totally respect your right to have a gun for shooting for sport. I loathe hunting as a pastime, and I can still recognize that you have every right do to it. I know that as both American law and American culture we are never going to have particularly restrictive gun laws (i.e. most people are going to be able to own whatever guns they want to) and most of the time I am ok with that. Where I really really struggle, though, is the rejection of all the science that has proven over and over and over that guns make you less safe rather than more safe. Feeling safe because you have a gun in the house is as much a myth as the belief that vaccines cause autism. The odds that the escaped convict was going to kill one of your kids is just much much lower than the odds that one of your children would kill themselves (or you) with that gun. Have people defended themselves/their homes from an attacker by having a gun? Yes, of course. But every single piece of evidence says that statistically the risk of injury/death is so much greater just by owning the gun in the first place. People have had terrible, life threatening reactions to vaccines, but they are much more likely to die of whooping cough. Again, I don’t like it, but I know that you have the right to own that gun. But I will continue to state until I’m blue in the face that it doesn’t make you safer. I think that once people truly believe the truth that guns DON’T MAKE YOU SAFER will we be able to have a rational, reasonable conversation about some gun control.

      • Kay_Sue

        I never said it made me safer.

        I said it made me feel safer. There’s a difference. I’m not rejecting anything. But the fact is, when you have taken the time to train and know your weapon, you properly store it, and you have a situation like what I did, yes, there’s a peace of mind to having access to it.

    • Natasha B

      I like my guns. No, I don’t live in a dangerous hood. In the event of a break in, the cops would be here ASAP, and the dog would have most likely ripped the assailant’s limbs off before we could get the gun out if the safe, then access a different safe with the ammo, then put it all it together. But maybe the kids Nerf guns would keep them at bay for awhile.

      • Rachel Sea

        If I were truly afraid of intruders, I’d scatter my hallway with jacks, marbles, and Legos.

      • Natasha B

        THIS. or go all Conspiracy Theory and balance some empty corona bottles on the door handles.

      • zigzag

        Lol, I actually take my kids popper lawnmower toy and a few others and put them in front of the front door at night so I could hear if someone tried to come in.

      • Natasha B

        Hehe that’s awesome! Those things are ridiculously noisy!

      • Bethany Ramos

        Home Alone…

    • Kelly

      I’ve been the victim of a home invasion and having a gun does make me feel safer.

      But if the only way you can argue your point is to mock me for that, have at it. It doesn’t change my feelings on the subject a bit.

      • Mikster

        Exactly. And it’s not like someone is trying to take HER right to remain unarmed away from her either.

      • Mel

        What about MY right to be in a gun free environment? What about MY right not to get shot accidentally or on purpose b/c of fear or profiling or mistakes? I’m not talking about inside your home, b/c I would obviously never go there. I’m talking about on the street, in a restaurant, a movie theater, a mall, a college campus, etc.

      • Mikster

        That would be YOUR home- NOT mine.

      • Mel

        Yes, my home is gun free. That’s why I agreed that we won’t be in each others’ homes. I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

      • Mikster

        Well your “gun-free” zone pretty much ends in your home, unless you live in an jurisdiction that bans guns. and believe that criminals don’t have them anyway.

      • Mel

        No, I don’t have any magical thinking about criminals not having guns. I wish the gun-free zones extended everywhere. I know that if guns were so readily available and weren’t manufactured en masse, then criminals wouldn’t have them so much. They would be fazed out. Other countries have made it work. We could if there wasn’t so much money to be made in the murder business.

      • Mikster

        Right because my husband, self and sons use our guns for murder every time. @@ You forget the whole sporting aspect, as well as self-defense aspect of gun ownership. not to mention that the pesky Second Amendment will not be abridged. But if hyperbole like “murder business” makes you feel that you are making a better point, feel free to employ it.

      • Mel

        No, I don’t forget “self-defense” claims or sport. I don’t forget about the 2nd A either. I think the Constitution is a living document and must evolve to meet the needs of a modern society. The framers couldn’t have conceived of a society arming itself with assault rifles and purchasing guns in bulk with no background checks or other safety mechanisms.

      • Maddy61501

        Where can I purchase a gun “in bulk”? Pretty sure they don’t sell them in a 10 pack at SAMs Club… Some states do require a background check and waiting period to buy handguns. I live in a city where there are more murders per capita than NYC. I also had my house broken into violently while we were home. It took the police 10 minutes to get there. I never owned a working gun before then and had never shot one. I now own two guns and go shooting regularly. We take our 12 year old also, so that he has a respect for guns and knows how to handle a gun properly. Your abstract fear of guns and what might happen will not negate the fear I legitimately felt for my life and it cannot infringe on my rights as a citizen of this country. The second amendment does not exist so that people can hunt or protect themselves from intruders. It exists for the citizens to protect themselves from an unjust government. I have no doubt that the forward thinking framers of our Constitution absolutely knew that firearms would change. They would have been fools to assume they wouldn’t. What is most telling is that in all these stories, I have not read one where a gun placed itself in someone’s hands. A gun does not think or feel and cannot act on its own. I am sorry for people that have had tragedy in their lives. I can only imagine what that loss would be like. Fortunately for me, police officers with guns came and made sure my family didn’t feel that pain. I will never feel that helpless again. I will never clutch a baseball bat to my chest and pray that the person entering my home won’t overpower me and take it away from me. If someone breaks into my house, they will not victimize me. I will shoot them.

      • Jlh239

        I like the way you think :)

      • Mel

        I’m sorry you were a victim. Truly. But she’s not “mocking you,” facts are proving you wrong. There’s a difference. The fact that the gun lobby has so much propaganda that is so effective, that you and others are willing to disregard facts and call them rants or jokes, is frightening.

      • Andrea

        She did NOT mock you. She simply presented FACTS. There is a difference.

    • Rachel Sea

      I KNOW that having guns in my house puts me and my wife at the greatest risk of death. Both our guns are kept with trigger locks, in locked carry cases, inside a locked safe, the ammo is in a locked case hidden elsewhere in the house, and all the keys are kept in a separate safe in a third location in the house, which is a pain to get to, and a pain to open…but I worry about it. I inherited the guns, I didn’t buy them. I keep them because they are heirlooms, and because my wife and I enjoy target shooting. I never thought I’d have a gun of greater caliber than a BB in the house, precisely because of all the reasons cited. With all the layers of safety there is no way I could get a gum unlocked and loaded in less than 10 minutes, so they certainly aren’t protecting me from home invaders (except slow zombies, maybe). Having a big freaking ax, a very large sword, and an aluminum baseball bat make me feel safe from intruders, but not as safe as the ability to jump out a bedroom window, and run.

      • Natasha B

        The zombie apocalypse will happen, and I will be sooo grateful for our guns then. Double tap.

      • Rachel Sea

        If they are fast zombies I’m screwed. I’ll have to take myself out with the ax so I don’t become a member of the horde.

        Plus I only keep enough ammo for a visit to the range. I’ll be relying on my tank of a car to get us to the mountains or the coast, where we will use the ammo to hunt small game, and pick off stragglers.

      • 21foot house

        I could totally take on slow zombies. If it’s fast zombies, then I want to be patient zero because I am so not dealing with that.

      • Natasha B

        We totally have a route mapped to North Dakota. No people there.

      • Rachel Sea

        I’m assuming I won’t be able to get more than one tank of gas, but there are some perfectly acceptable places to go within that range.

      • staferny

        Our plan is also to load up and head to the mountains, we’re in Alberta so we wouldn’t be able to get to the coast on one tank but we can get to the mountains, we need to get really far in there to get as far away as possible from our densely populated city. Our dilemma is car or truck? If we take the truck it has 4×4 and a bush guard on the front to allow us to plow through the undead and we can load more stuff in the box but its a gas guzzler, if we take the car it gets way better mileage and we could get a lot further from the city. Thoughts?

      • Rachel Sea

        Sounds like a couple camping trips are in order, so you can dry run. You want to know your route is clear of hospitals, cemeteries and morgues, and you want to maximize looting options, without driving into congested areas. Also camping is fun.

      • sri

        I wonder if that downvote was anti-gun, accidental, “a zombie attack is never going to happen, stop talking about zombies,” or “you would totally run out of ammo.”

        To be honest, I don’t have anything against responsible gun owners. I think that there should be a waiting period (mostly to do the background check), thorough background check, and mandatory safety class, though. I had to take a safety class and register to drive a car, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable for gun ownership. I loathe the gun owners that don’t properly secure their weapons or are generally unsafe about maintaining their guns, but I think most responsible gun owners do, too, since they give you a bad name.

        However, if world war z (the book) taught me anything, it’s that you will eventually run out of ammunition and have to rely on melee weapons. Start sharpening your shovels now, they’re a dual purpose tool.

      • Mel

        The downvote was me. Two reasons: the zombie thing is nonsense and contributes nothing, and I don’t find anything funny about a “double tap.” Thanks for asking.

      • Natasha B

        ‘Double Tap’ was a reference to Zombieland. 3 rules for surviving a Zombie apocalypse.
        1) Cardio
        2) ALWAYS check your backseat
        3) Double Tap

      • Mel

        I guess that’s a video game? Thanks for letting me know!

      • Natasha B

        It’s a movie that came out a few years ago! Actually pretty funny ;)
        I don’t play video games….I read! Big books! And own guns too. Craycray.

      • Mel

        Guessing that it was a video game was exactly that – a guess. There’s nothing wrong with video games, and people that play them surely read books too. You really should calm the hell down.

      • K

        She seems pretty calm.

      • Mel

        Yeah, jumping down my throat and assuming that I was calling her stupid for thinking she played a video game is really rational. I didn’t know it was a movie. This line of commenting is now pointless. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day :)

      • Paul White

        She didn’t seem like she was jumping down your throat. You seem a lot more defensive than she does actually…

      • Mel

        Okay, you win. I overreacted. Even though she oddly seemed to think that I assume that people who play video games are stupid and can’t read books. *smh*

        If you want to debate who overreacted, that’s great. It sounds pretty boring to me though, so I’m gonna leave you to it. Thanks for the reply.

      • Tinyfaeri

        I think everyone loathes irresponsible gun owners, and I personally think a safety class, and a detailed, nation-wide background check (and violent crimes in all states were stored in a nationally available database) and possibly even access to mental health history would be nice before buying a gun.

        And I hear you on sharpening those shovels. It’s only being practical.

      • CMJ

        Tinyfaeri – you are way too rational for this discussion. :)

      • Tinyfaeri

        I wanna be your personal penguin, CMJ! :)

      • Natasha B

        I agree, the fanatical this is ‘mericuh types scare everyone.

      • sri

        Maybe I’ve spent too much time around my outlaws, then. There’s a weird pocket of Obama’s going to take all the guns and then blah blah Muslim blah blah dictatorship blah blah conspiracy theories going on in my family at the mere mention of background checks or the fact that there is a relative with a long history of violent outbursts and complicated mental health, so maybe he shouldn’t own a gun. It’s hard to remember that there are moderate people out there that recognize that guns can be dangerous, so we need to make sure to take precautions. My relatives would rather see someone unstable own a stockpile of weapons (who is not only not a straw man, but someone who has tried to burn various family members’ houses down) than submit to background checks, because they think the background check is just a way to collect information on all gun owners and then target them to seize their weapons. They recognize that gun safes and trigger locks might make it difficult to respond to an intruder, so they leave loaded guns in various drawers instead. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear that one of them shot someone for cutting them off in traffic or talking during a movie. That terrifies me. At the same time, I know that there are people who rely on hunting to survive or who shoot for sport, and I don’t feel right taking that away from them as long as they are responsible and vetted by a background check.

      • Tinyfaeri

        The majority of people in the country are more along the lines of… you. My personal feelings on the subject are that handguns, shotguns and non-automatic rifles used for hunting or sport and that are stored in an appropriately safe manner are reasonable to own with responsible background checks and waiting periods first. When the constitution was written, the right to bear arms meant something very different because I don’t think the folks who wrote it could have imagined some of the things we have now. It means you can have reasonable access to weapons to defend yourself and your country if needed (back then that was a much, much more likely threat), not that you have a god given right to own rocket launchers and machine guns. The extremes of either side get all the attention, when I really think that the majority of people out there are much more moderate and reasonable in their views. If we all come to the table and have a rational discussion without hyperbole on either side, we can make some real changes.

      • Natasha B

        I absolutely, 100% agree with a waiting period, background check, and safety classes. We did all of that when we purchased our guns. We also take a refresher every few years.
        We do have several shovels and hoes for gardening, but they prob need to be sharpened. Thanks for the reminder. I don’t think we have an axe, so I’ll have to look into that. And a sword. I’ve always wanted a sword.

      • Rachel Sea

        Whetstones are really easy to use. I sharpen my garden tools regularly, and it makes a huge difference, especially with hoes and edgers. It’s meditative, and an important zombie apocalypse survival skill.

      • Natasha B

        I do enjoy sharpening my kitchen knives immensely, I will have to look into that!
        We do have a serious heavy duty cleaver, I could totally take a (slow) zombie with that.

      • Magrat

        Apparently my town is explicitly mentioned in the book World War Z as having survived, because there’s a top-tier math and science school here. When the zombies come I’m gonna go across the street and hang with the engineers.

      • Paul White

        and yet…a friend of mine drew his CCW last weekend on a guy trying to break down his garage door and the would be home intruder fled (and is now in custody).
        I’ll keep carrying.

    • Jlh239

      People who have guns in their homes, like me, are not going to change their minds about the subject, same as those who don’t believe guns have a place in a home. So instead of worrying ourselves about defending our point and proving why the other is wrong just get over it. I won’t argue with you if you don’t harrass me over my right to arm myself in my home.

      • Mel

        I don’t think that writing an article about a study that reveals facts is harassment. If you’re talking about the general point of not confronting people about the fact that they choose to own/carry weapons designed to kill people, then I guess that not engaging in a comments section discussion about the topic is the best way to protect yourself. Of course, if you want a healthy debate, this should be the place for it. If you’re going to refer to the discussion itself as harassment, you should feel free not to participate.

      • Jlh239

        I suppose I should have made it clear I wasn’t referring to the article as harassment. What I should have said is when someone is jumping down my, or anyone else’s, throat about making the choice to have a firearm in MY home, not your home. Let’s face it the comment section for an article isn’t going to change minds.

      • Mel

        That’s fair. Thanks for the clarification.

    • Tea

      I’m just going to sit over here in the “deer taste awesome” camp. A black powder flintlock isn’t exactly the best thing for home defense anyway, and we never intend it to be so.

      Besides, any late night intruder would be met with two startled naked guys with straight razors and a claymore.

      • libraryofbird

        That visual made my damn day!

      • Rachel Sea

        Halberds, man. Mine is with my armorer friend right now getting the pole replaced, but when it’s at home it makes me feel very safe. I could open a burglar like a can of beans with that thing.

      • Tea

        Now that’s just plain bad ass.

      • Simone

        You have a fucking halberd.
        I don’t know why, after twenty years of Dungeons and Dragons and every fantasy novel ever written, the idea of actually owning a halberd had not occurred to me until this moment.
        Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

      • Surfaces

        Lol a guy broke into my friends house just last night as was greeted by a half-naked man jumping out of a sleeping bag and chasing him down the street in his socks. No weapon needed when you see his bed hair!

    • Rochelle

      The gun culture in the states seems so strange to me. It would make me feel awkward if I was at a friends house for dinner and they mentioned they had bought a gun for protection.

      • MerlePerle

        Same here. I’m from Germany, and while I find the discussion fascinating, I don’t really understand wanting to have guns in your house.

      • Jack

        If the power should fail for the entire city, the police could not communicate. Illegally armed bands of thugs would and will roam and invade. STOP AND FRISK NO LONGER STOPS AND FRISKS- the mayors little pals are stocking up their guns.
        Whether you stay or try to escape afoot, you will need to be armed or you will be a victim. This is the only REALISTIC reason for having a weapon in NYC.

      • Athena A

        Same here. Getting a gun in Belgium requires a giant pile of red tape, the only person I ever knew to have a gun was a retired army officer. It’s WWI commemoration this year and loads of foreign re-enactment groups are coming in and are having a lot of trouble getting in their authentic guns, because of all the red tape.
        Me? I feel safer knowing how hard it is to get a gun here. Knowing that probably nobody in my neighbourhood has a gun makes me feel safe.
        I agree with others as well, people with mental problems and suffering from depression do not need easy access to guns. Accident waiting to happen. There are enough ‘family tragedies’ already. No need to make it easier.

      • Surfaces

        Same. I live in Scotland and find the American attitude to guns so strange. Dunblane happened, we got rid of guns. So many American kids are killed every year because of gun violence, they protect the guns? Doesn’t make sense to me. I do understand the concept of “If they repeal the 2nd Amendment, what’s to stop them doing it to the others?” but on the other hand, not all Amendments (and let’s all remember the meaning of the word “Amendment”, it means a change, which means the constitution has already been changed) result in massive loss of life on a yearly basis.

      • ted3553

        I’m canadian and it’s strange to me as well. I know lots of people who own guns for hunting but none of them carry guns for personal protection or have them in their houses for protection. It’s a strange cultural thing because when a few women talk about making sure their safe when walking at night, etc, no one ever mentions carrying a gun or wanting to. It’s just very different.

      • ChickenKira

        Australian here, I’m another one in the “I don’t get it” camp.

    • meteor_echo

      So, story time, I guess.
      When I was a very little kid, I lived in Armenia. At the time, there was a war with Azerbaijan (the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict). My parents are both Russian, and served in the military back then. When the bandits started ransacking our city, they especially hated Russians for taking side with the Armenian troops. So, they threatened my parents a lot. One day, they found out where we lived and started banging at our door, screaming something to the effect of “We will find and rape you and your child, you Russian bitch!”
      Now, my mother was not entirely hapless – you get the gist of situation pretty easily when your work day consists of amputating limbs and being elbow-deep in wounded soldiers’ stomachs. She secured herself an AK and kept it at home. The moment she heard screaming and rape threats at her door, she fired the AK at it and apparently killed one of the bandits. The rest never came back and later this particular gang was tracked down and eliminated.

      By the age of four, I knew what a gun is, that it could kill people, how it works in principle, and knew that I shouldn’t touch it or the ammo for it. Later, when I was 10, my father took me to a shooting range and I was allowed to fire a gun several times. I know how they work, I know how to be responsible around them, and someday I might get a gun and keep it at home for protection.

      As for suicides, you guys forget that some of us sort of plan ahead. A gun suicide is a) not surefire – you can still end up being alive after it, and a disfigured vegetable at that. And b) it’s messy as fuck. I wouldn’t want to make someone scoop up my brains from the wall, so I’d take pills. If you know the dosage and the medication well, it is pretty much 99% effective.

      • Bethany Ramos

        Wow, this story is intense. Thanks for sharing!

      • meteor_echo

        No problem. I guess that guns can save people too, not just harm or kill them.

      • Mel

        I’m so sorry that your family had to endure that! I’m so glad that you are here to tell us about it. Even the anti-gun nut that I am will not presume to judge what people trapped in a warzone do to protect themselves and their families. Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Paul White

        Yikes. Glad she stayed safe

      • meteor_echo

        Thanks. My mother is not the most pleasant person to be around, but she’s pretty badass. Being a field medic does that to you.

        I suppose that this story is why I’d have a gun at home – my family (once I get married and move the fuck away) will consist of two childfree folks and several pets. I know how to handle guns, my man–friend works as a guard in a building complex. There’s nobody to find the gun and accidentally harm themselves, and despite me being the suicidal type, I don’t particularly like the idea of shooting myself. It’s unreliable, messy and… well, messy.

        Also, sorry for incomprehensible grammar and possible typos – it’s my birthday today and I’m pretty damn buzzed :)

    • Alexandra

      I’m pro-choice re: gun ownership. We have a couple and they’re safely stored, etc etc etc.
      However, I definitely believe this study as well. How much easier to kill yourself or someone else with access to a gun? Much easier!
      I read stories of cops and servicemen that go “nuts” and kill themselves or their families. And those guys are the most highly trained, not civilians!
      I guess my whole point on gun ownership is, if I’m trained and practice regularly, why shouldn’t I have a gun where my cop friend has a gun? I trust myself with one the same or more than I trust her with one….
      I just disagree with people who say that well it’s ok for cops/military only. They’re just as likely to “snap”, no? They’re just people – not super-human the way TV shows would lead you to believe.

    • Alex

      Nobody I know who owns guns does so out of any fear or our safety, we own guns because they’re goddamn fun to shoot and hunt with. I’ll go right ahead keeping guns in my house for precisely that purpose, thanks!

      I do agree with a point about safety (or perception thereof) and domestic danger however. If you DO keep a gun for personal protection, then accordingly you must keep it easily accessible and probably loaded (otherwise, what would be the point?). And anything easily accessible to you in an emergency is likely going to be easily accessible to just about anyone else in a non-emergency.

      However, I also have to laugh at anyone who suggests that the framers of the U.S. Constitution did not intend the 2nd Amendment to adapt and apply to the of guns that exist today. Unless of course, you also believe that the 1st Amendment should only apply to the religions and technologies of speech that existed in 1791.