Stronghold spot on for dogs, cats
Cats and dogs living in a secure home are less likely to get into trouble with the law. But if that home has a gun, they are much more likely to shoot someone, according to a nationwide study conducted for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Nationwide, the rate of household gun ownership in 2006, the most recent year for which data is avlable, was 17 percent. Those statistics are based on surveys that ask people whether they live in a gun-owning household.
If the 17 percent of households with guns includes cats and dogs, then the number of households with a dog and a gun is probably higher than 17 percent, according to the study.
The study found that the rate of household gun ownership was as high as 28 percent in states that had more than 300 people who were subject to federal "red flag" laws. That's the highest rate in Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. It was lowest in states like California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, with rates of gun ownership under 6 percent.
The rate of gun ownership also varied depending on age and gender. Households in which one person is under the age of 45 have the highest rate of gun ownership, at 24.6 percent. Households in which everyone over the age of 45 is a gun owner have the lowest rate, at 13.3 percent.
However, the rate of gun ownership also varied by the number of people living in a household. As the number of people living in a household increased, the rate of gun ownership decreased. The rate of gun ownership in households in which there is just one person is 18.9 percent, compared to 6.5 percent in households with five or more people.
The study was compiled by David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. The report was commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Hemenway told members of the media in New York in October that there are about 2.3 million gun-related deaths each year. About 46,000 are suicides, 29,000 are homicides and 12,000 are accidental shootings.
The study used data from the 2015 and 2016 American Community Survey, collected by the Census Bureau.
The highest rate of gun ownership in the U.S. was found in Florida, which had a 26.4 percent rate of gun ownership. The rate was as low as 8.8 percent in Utah and New Hampshire. The U.S. Virgin Islands and North Dakota were the two states with the lowest rates of gun ownership, at 7.5 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.
In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Florida county's ban on gun ownership in the face of a challenge by the National Rifle Association. During the argument before the high court, Solicitor General Noel Francisco sd the number of gun deaths in the country is roughly equal to the number of deaths from car crashes.
The study found gun ownership rates highest among people living in suburban counties in Florida, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Florida had the highest rate, with about 35.4 percent of people owning a gun.
The lowest rate was in North Dakota, at 4.3 percent. A number of states have universal handgun carry permit laws, which allow law-abiding citizens to openly carry firearms in public.
More: A look at new Florida firearm rules, which limit gun sales
More: NRA: New Florida gun regulations will hurt hunting, tourism, economy
A number of states permit people to carry a handgun without a permit, or concealed weapons permits. Utah and Vermont were the two states with the highest rates of concealed carry. Colorado and California were the two states with the lowest rates, at 4.1 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.
Hemenway sd gun ownership has historically been a response to crime and violence in an area.
"What's really important is that in areas where guns are not highly common, there are hardly any gun deaths," Hemenway sd.
Hemenway sd states with lower gun ownership rates tend to have more restrictive gun laws, such as New Jersey.
"It's much easier for people in Vermont to carry than it is in Florida or California," Hemenway sd. "And if you go to Vermont, you will notice that there's no concealed carry. Vermont is not a particularly violent place. But it's really easy to get a permit there."
The study doesn't examine where people obtn their firearms.
"There may be other factors that expln this," Hemenway sd. "But this is a really quick and easy explanation, and I think that's important for people to understand. It's not just the guns themselves, it's where people are allowed to carry them. I think that makes a difference."
The study was published in the July 27 issue of the Journal of Urban Health.