The results of a new study about guns and gun violence might shock people on both sides of the gun control debate. Published by the Committee on Priorities for a Public Health Research Agenda to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence, under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study asserts that “violence, including firearm related violence, has been shown to be contagious.”
Viewing violence as a disease explains why the CDC was involved with the study. It was conducted as part of 23 executive actions signed by President Barack Obama in January in an effort to reduce gun violence. The order specifically called to “issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.”
The study found that the primary factors in predicting who will become a victim of gun violence are socioeconomic status and ethnicity. Suicide rates were higher among Caucasians while homicide rates were shown to be significantly higher among African-Americans, Guns.com reported. The study also found that instances of poverty, illicit drug trafficking and substance use all increase the risk of becoming involved in gun violence.
One of the study’s findings that some might find surprising is that “unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century.” According to the study, accidental firearm-related deaths accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010. Mass shootings were also covered.
“Mass shootings are a highly visible and moving tragedy, but represent only a small fraction of total firearm-related violence ... it is also apparent that some mass murder incidents are associated with suicides," the study states. "However, the characteristics of suicides associated with mass murders are not understood.”
Despite its findings, the study did recognize the right to bear arms as acknowledged by the United States Constitution.
“An individual’s right to own and possess guns was established in the U.S. Constitution and affirmed in the 2008 and 2010 Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago.”
The full study can be found here.