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letters | SAFER WITH GUNS?

Can’t ignore decades of data on homicide and other risks

JEFF JACOBY’S March 21 op-ed column “A safer society with guns’’ relies on isolated data from Washington, D.C., and two schools in Colorado, while ignoring decades of US and international data on gun-related deaths. Research from the schools of public health at UCLA and Harvard shows that homicide rates in the United States are nearly seven times higher than those in other high-income countries, and are driven by firearm homicide rates nearly 20 times higher.

In the US population age 15 to 24, firearm homicide rates are almost 43 times higher than in other high-income countries. Furthermore, most research finds that both homicide and firearm homicide rates in the United States are generally higher in areas with increased gun prevalence.

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Finally, the notion that guns in the home make people “feel safer,’’ as Jacoby suggests, must be considered in light of the risks of home gun possession. Firearms in the home are associated with significantly higher rates of suicide, and children age 5 to 14 in the United States have 11 times the likelihood of being killed accidentally with a gun compared with similarly aged children in other developed countries.

Ronald Pies


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