Washington, D.C. — While many people are stockpiling toilet paper, flour, and milk during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a troubling new trend has also emerged: Americans stockpiling guns. But contrary to what the National Rifle Association and others in the gun lobby would have you think, increased gun ownership is more likely to exacerbate the existing public health crisis of gun violence than to provide increased safety during a time of national anxiety and fear.
A common misperception is that owning a gun increases one’s personal safety; yet a growing body of research shows that having a gun in one’s home actually increases the risks of gun violence. In a new column, the Center for American Progress outlines four data-informed reasons why having a gun in one’s home could actually put families and communities at risk.
- A gun is more likely to be stolen than used in self-defense.
- Unsecured guns in the home create risks of unintentional shootings by children.
- Guns are the most lethal means of suicide attempts.
- Guns in the home increase risks to victims of domestic and family violence.
“Despite the misleading and irresponsible rhetoric from the gun lobby, buying a gun during this time of international crisis will not make you or your family safer,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president of Gun Violence Prevention at CAP. “All of the available research demonstrates that introducing a gun into a household creates new risks of suicide by gun, unintentional shootings by children, domestic violence homicide, and theft. Americans are already confronting a significant public health crisis with gun violence, which kills nearly 40,000 people every year. We need to ensure that our individual and collective responses to the new coronavirus crisis do not inadvertently exacerbate our nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
Buying a gun is a decision that should never be taken lightly. It requires a far greater level of analysis, nuance, and planning than the gun lobby would have you believe. Responding to upheaval and uncertainty by rushing to purchase a gun is a dangerous and potentially deadly mistake.
Read the column: “4 Reasons Not To Buy Guns in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Chelsea Parsons, Eugenio Weigend Vargas, and Rukmani Bhatia.
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Adam Peck at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcepa.