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. 2014 Dec;20(6):424-6.
doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2014-041187. Epub 2014 Apr 16.

Examining the Relationship Between the Prevalence of Guns and Homicide Rates in the USA Using a New and Improved State-Level Gun Ownership Proxy

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Examining the Relationship Between the Prevalence of Guns and Homicide Rates in the USA Using a New and Improved State-Level Gun Ownership Proxy

Michael Siegel et al. Inj Prev. .

Abstract

Determining the relationship between gun ownership levels and firearm homicide rates is critical to inform public health policy. Previous research has shown that state-level gun ownership, as measured by a widely used proxy, is positively associated with firearm homicide rates. A newly developed proxy measure that incorporates the hunting license rate in addition to the proportion of firearm suicides correlates more highly with state-level gun ownership. To corroborate previous research, we used this new proxy to estimate the association of state-level gun ownership with total, firearm, and non-firearm homicides. Using state-specific data for the years 1981-2010, we modelled these rates as a function of gun ownership level, controlling for potential confounding factors. We used a negative binomial regression model and accounted for clustering of observations among states. We found that state-level gun ownership as measured by the new proxy, is significantly associated with firearm and total homicides but not with non-firearm homicides.

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