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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Gun-in-Home as a Risk Factor in Firearm-Related Homicide: A Historical Prospective Cohort Study of U.S. Deaths, 1993

Vincent C. Merrill, PhD, Kinesiology and Health Science, California State University Fullerton, P.O. Box 6870, Fullerton, CA 92834-6870, 714/278-5649, vmerrill@fullerton.edu and Richard McCleary, PhD, Department of Environmental Analysis and Design, University of California Irvine, School of Social Ecology, Irvine, CA 92697-7070.

Purpose: This study uses a historical prospective cohort design to examine the association between the presence and type of firearms in households and risk of homicide.

Methods: A prospective national cohort of two national data sets was created by pooling a sample of firearm related and non-firearm related decedents from the 1993 National Mortality Followback Survey with a sample of living residents from a subsample of the 1993 National Health Interview Survey. Both surveys include detailed information on firearm possession and other demographic and lifestyle characteristics. Survival analysis was used to estimate the gun-in-home risk for homicide.

Results: During the one-year survey period, there were 2,740 deaths involving firearms. Survival analyses revealed an increased risk for demographic and environmental factors that varied by age, race, sex, marital status, income, education, region and living situation. Cox’s regression was used to control for these characteristics. The presence of one or more guns in the home was not found to be associated with an increased risk of homicide (P>0.05). Further analyses delineating the type of firearm found that risk varied significantly by the type of firearm possessed in the home.

Conclusion: This survival analysis indicates that after correcting for demographic, environmental, and behavioral factors, the presence of firearms in the home does not increase the risk for homicide. Although previous case-control studies have indicated that gun ownership is a risk factor for homicide, the advantages of a prospective cohort study provide a more accurate assessment of the risks involved with gun ownership.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Homicide, Firearms

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Firearm Policy and Injury Prevention

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA