In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics cited some statistics. You can read the entire testimony (7 page PDF) here.
This is stated as if it is an unequivocal fact. So, let's dig into this a little deeper. Tracking this statement back to the source, we find that the AAP first refers to their own Policy Statement on gun violence, entitled Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population. in which they state:"Individuals possessing a firearm are more than four times more likely to be shot during an assault than those who do not own one."
Here it is stated with seemingly less confidence. Let's dig a little deeper. If we track this back to the cited article we find a 2009 study entitled Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault"Evidence from Philadelphia suggests that firearm possession increases the risk of being shot in an assault. In a carefully conducted case-control study, Branas and colleagues found that people possessing a gun were more than 4 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession of a firearm."
The investigators looked at 677 shooting incidents in Philadelphia and compared those individuals to a control group (matched for age, sex and race) of Philly residents who had not been assaulted.
Of the 677 shooting victims, 5.92% (or a total of 40) possessed a gun at the time of the assault. Simple math tells us that 637 (or 94%) of the shooting victims therefore did not possess a gun. This can be restated as "16 shooting victims were not carrying a gun for every one that was carrying". (Incidentally, of the 684 non-victims in the control group, 7.16% (a total of 49) possessed a gun at a comparable point in time.) Analysis of other variables indicated statistically significant difference between the group who had been shot and the group that had not been shot in the following characteristics:
"At the time of shooting, case participants were also significantly more often involved with alcohol and drugs, outdoors, and closer to areas where more Blacks, Hispanics, and unemployed individuals resided. Case participants were also more likely to be located in areas with less income and more illicit drug trafficking."
Shame on them!
(In 2009, Gary Kleck of Gun Owners of America did a nice discussion of the Philadelphia study here.)