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One in three U.S. households contains at least one firearm. Gun owners cite two main reasons for having a gun: hunting and self-protection. A majority of handgun owners believe that they are protecting their homes and families against violent assaults. But in a country where the majority of homicides and suicides involve a gun, it is reasonable to question whether access to a gun increases or decreases the risk of violent death. This Issue Brief describes case-control studies that investigate links between gun availability and gun death, and supports earlier findings that people with guns in their homes appear to increase their risk of being shot fatally (intentionally or unintentionally) or taking their own life with a gun.
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Date Posted: 09 December 2016