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Association Between Handgun Purchase and Mortality from Firearm Injury

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Publication Date: January 2003

Publisher(s): Injury Prevention

Author(s): Kevin Grassel; Garen J. Wintemute; Mona A. Wright; Michael P. Romero, MPH

Series:

Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Social conditions (Safety and security)

Keywords: California gun deaths; Gun suicides

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

This study sought to determine the association between mortality from violent or firearm related injury and previous handgun purchase.
Compiled data found that handgun purchase was more common among persons dying from suicide or homicide, and particularly among those dying from gun suicide or gun homicide. No such differences were seen for non-gun suicide or homicide. Among women, those dying from gun suicide were much more likely to have purchased a handgun. Handgun purchasers accounted for less than 1% of the study population but 2.4% of gun homicides, 14.2% of gun suicides, and 16.7% of unintentional gun deaths. Gun suicide made up 18.9% of deaths among purchasers but only 0.6% of deaths among non-purchasers.
The study concluded that among adults who died in California in 1998, those dying from violence were more likely than those dying from non-injury causes to have purchased a handgun.