HerrGlock writes:

Oh hell, now I’m going to have to dig up that study. There’s a study
done that shows long guns are more likely to have an
accidental/negligent shooting than are handguns. Something along the
lines of 4 to 1.

Try 1 to 4. Handguns are four times as likely to be involved in an
accidental shooting as long guns. Handguns comprise about 1/3 of the
US gun stock and are involved in 2/3 of the accidental woundings (NEISS).

Peter H. Proctor writes:

Er, According to Kleck ( Point Blank, table 2, ) 90% or more of
firearms kept loaded at any one time are handguns.

Er, there is no table 2 in “Point Blank”. Nor does Kleck make this
claim anywhere in “Point Blank”. Nor is true. You can estimate the
percentage of firearms kept loaded all the time from a survey of
firearm storage practices (JAMA 92). 80% of those who said that they
kept a gun loaded all or some of the time said they owned a handgun.
From this we can conclude that AT MOST 80% of the guns kept loaded are
handguns. It would only be 80% if every person who owns a handgun
NEVER keeps a long gun loaded.

Presumably, you cannot
get shot by an unloaded gun, so handgun “exposure’ ( in the sense we
toxicologists use it) is very high relative to long guns, even though there
are more long guns.

  1. You CAN get shot with an “unloaded” gun. In fact guns that are, in
    fact, loaded but are believed to be unloaded are particularly likely
    to be involved in accidents. Surveys measure whether people
    believe the gun to be unloaded, not whether it really is unloaded.

  2. Your measure of “exposure” is wrong. If hunting rifles were never
    stored loaded, do you think that this would magically stop all hunting
    accidents from occurring?

  3. The far greater handgun involvement in accidents may indeed be
    partly caused by the greater likelihood for a handgun being kept
    loaded. This still doesn’t change the fact that a handgun is four
    times as likely to be involved in a gun accident.

Yet handguns are involved in less than 14% of accidental gun

ABSOLUTELY FALSE. You really should not rely on Kates for this
stuff. He has deliberately misled you. Handguns are involved in
about half of accidental gun fatalities.

A very interesting review of all of this is: Kates et al Guns and Public
Health. Tennessee Law Review, vol 62, #3, p513 (1995).

A fiercely partisan pro-gun piece that manages to misstate or get
wrong just about every relevant fact on this issue. See
here for the
discussion I had with Kates on this.