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A new study has found that adults living with someone who owns a handgun are more than twice as likely to die of homicide.

People who lived with a handgun owner were seven times as likely to be fatally shot by a spouse or intimate partner, according to the study by the Stanford School of Medicine published earlier this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Most of the homicide victims were women — they accounted for 84% of the victims studied — who were fatally shot by the men they lived with, the study found.

Women in the home “bear the brunt of the elevated risks” from a gun in the home, noted study co-author Yifan Zhang, a researcher at Stanford School of Medicine’s Department of Health Policy.

“Despite widespread perceptions that a gun in the home provides security benefits, nearly all credible studies to date suggest that people who live in homes with guns are at higher — not lower — risk of dying by homicide,” said the study’s lead author, health policy professor David Studdert.

“We found zero evidence of any kind of protective effects” from living in a home with a handgun, he told The Associated Press.

The findings are particularly concerning now, as gun purchases have skyrocketed during the COVID pandemic, researchers noted. The reason most people gave for purchasing a handgun was to protect their homes and families, according to the researchers.

The study examined the homicide rates among nearly 17.6 million registered voters in California 21 and older. Researchers focused on 600,000 adults who didn’t own a gun but lived with someone who had acquired a handgun between October 2004 and December 2016.

While the overall risk of being fatally shot was low (about 12 in 100,000 were fatally shot over five years), those living with handgun owners nevertheless were 2.83 times as likely to die from homicides involving firearms.

“Our goal was to estimate the effect of household exposure to handguns on non owners’ risk for dying by homicide,” the researchers wrote. “We were particularly interested in homicides occurring in or around the home because protecting one’s home is a major motivation for gun ownership, and a plurality of homicides occur in the home.”

The study did not find evidence that people living in homes with guns had a lower risk of being killed by strangers. In fact, the risk of such deaths appeared higher, although the findings were not statistically significant.

Handgun owners also have an elevated risk of suicide, according to a 2020 study.

Source: Huff Post

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