States with the greatest number of guns in the home also have the highest rates of homicide, says a study from the February issue of Social Science and Medicine reported by the New York Times. The authors said the research “suggests that household firearms are a direct and an indirect source of firearms used to kill Americans both in their homes and on the streets.”
Researchers led by Matthew Miller of the Harvard School of Public Health drew on data gathered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In states in the highest quarter of gun ownership, the study found, the overall homicide rate was 60 percent higher than in states in the lowest quarter. The rate of homicides involving guns was more than twice as high. Among possible explanations for the higher homicide rates is that states with high gun ownership tend to make it easier to buy guns. Researchers could not prove that the guns caused the increase in homicides, only that there was a link.