University of Pennsylvania researchers found that the risk of being a victim of gun violence increases with higher alcohol consumption and proximity to places that sell alcohol-to-go, reports the Daily Pennsylvanian. Charles Branas, an epidemiology professor in the School of Medicine, said he was interested in finding the risk factors that result in becoming a victim of a shooting. The study examined 677 shootings in Philadelphia from 2003 to 2006. It found that light drinkers were not at an increased risk of being shot in an assault when compared to non-drinkers. Heavy drinkers were 2.67 times as likely to be shot. “Heavily consuming alcohol can greatly lower inhibitions, increase confidence and potentially release violent impulses,” the study said. “Light drinkers likely retained enough clear judgment and perception to keep their risk in check.”
The combination of risk factors – heavy drinking near off-premise outlets – resulted in individuals being 9.34 times as likely to be shot. “Unlike off-premise alcohol outlets, on-premise outlets … were by comparison highly monitored, relatively safe havens, even in neighborhoods with high levels of gun violence,” the study said. Every year, 100,000 Americans are killed or injured by firearms, said Rose Cheney the Firearm and Injury Center at Penn. Branas suggested that cities reduce the density of off-premise alcohol outlets, better train servers in the outlets, and police public drunkenness to reduce gun violence.