Guns and Coronavirus
Social distancing for COVID-19 means millions of children and family members will be spending more time at home and in closer proximity to firearms.
In America, there are more guns than there are people. About 43 percent of U.S. adults live in a household where there is a firearm, and about 4.6 million children in America live in homes with unsecured firearms. Especially during times of disruption to our everyday life and home routines, it is important that we have ongoing conversations with family and friends about responsible gun ownership and safe storage practices.
Gun Sales are Surging in Response to Fears About Coronavirus
An effect of COVID-19 has been a surge in gun sales in states across the country. According to the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC), background checks processed on March 16, 2020, increased by 300 percent over the same day in 2019. This a reaction to fear and uncertainty about the future. It's understandable to feel these concerns. At the same time, extensive research shows that adding guns to a situation does not make us or our loved ones safer.
Consequently, research shows that more guns in the home are correlated to higher odds of homicide and suicide. It's been widely proven that adding more guns into a situation increases the lethality of a confrontation. In fact, we have seen that states that implement so-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws have higher incidence of homicide.
Homicide and Guns in the Home
- For each 10 percent increase in household gun ownership rates, the researchers found a 13 percent increase in domestic homicides involving firearms.
- Studies have shown that individuals with firearms in the home “were nearly twice as likely to be murdered as people who did not.”
- All studies included in this meta-analysis found significantly higher odds of homicide victimization among participants who had access to a firearm than among those who did not.
Domestic Violence and Guns in the Home
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
- Women who were killed by a spouse, intimate partner, or close relative were 7 times more likely to have lived in homes with guns.
Unintentional Shootings and Guns in the Home
- 4.6 million children live in homes with access to an unlocked or unsupervised gun.
- 75 percent of kids know where that gun is stored in their home.
- Eight children or teens die from unintentional shootings every day.
The most important thing that someone who is purchasing firearms can do right now is ensure that they practice safe firearm storage.