In a first-of its-kind study, epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study estimated that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.
From the abstract of the paper:
Objectives. We investigated the possible relationship between being shot in an assault and possession of a gun at the time.
Methods. We enrolled 677 case participants that had been shot in an assault and 684 population-based control participants within Philadelphia, PA, from 2003 to 2006. We adjusted odds ratios for confounding variables.
Results. After adjustment, individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P<.05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45 (P<.05).
Conclusions. On average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. Although successful defensive gun uses occur each year, the probability of success may be low for civilian gun users in urban areas. Such users should reconsider their possession of guns or, at least, understand that regular possession necessitates careful safety countermeasures.
Four plus times more likely is quite a substantial increase in risk. This is what I have always suspected. There are two obvious, opposite recommendations that come to mind: 1) Stop carrying a gun; or 2) Add body armor.
I hope my friend Josh reads this!
Hat tip to Virgil Samms for letting me know about this interesting study.
Source: Branas, C., Richmond, T., Culhane, D., Ten Have, T., & Wiebe, D. (2009). Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault American Journal of Public Health DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.143099