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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study: Higher Gun Ownership Rates Linked to Increase in Non-Stranger Homicide

A new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher has found that states with higher estimated rates of gun ownership experience a higher incidence of non-stranger firearms homicides – disputing the claim that gun ownership deters violent crime, its authors say.


The study, led by Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences, and published in the American Journal of Public Health, found no significant relationship between levels of gun ownership and rates of stranger-on-stranger homicide. However, it did find that higher levels of gun ownership were associated with increases in non-stranger homicide rates, including those involving guns.

The study is the first to look at the association between gun ownership and rates of stranger vs. non-stranger homicides. Last year, Dr. Siegel and colleagues reported that U.S. states with higher estimated rates of gun ownership had higher overall numbers of firearms-related homicides.

“Our findings refute the argument that gun ownership deters strangers from committing homicide,” Dr. Siegel said. “Instead, these findings suggest that gun ownership actually increases the risk of violent death, as it is associated with higher rates of non-stranger homicide.”

To read more about the study, go to: