Sunday, June 29, 2014

Research: Guns in the Workplace Do Not Make You Safer

Given the conversations that I've put myself through on pro-gun rights sites, you'd think that all research led to the conclusion that everyone was safer with a gun in tow.

In fact, some research shows that this is not the case, and that, in the case of a workplace, policies that allow guns increase the probability of homicides, as opposed to those that forbid bearing firearms.

This article was published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2005.  The authors concluded that the risk of homicide was 7 times greater in workplaces that permitted firearms, than in those that prohibited all bearing of weapons. 

So let's be clear here: according to this study, the risk of being killed is higher where guns are allowed than in workplaces where they are not.  In other words, being allowed to bring guns to work does not make you safer, but in fact makes you less safe.

Now, for the partisans of doubt (i.e. guns rights advocates), the study examined only North Carolina and what's more, nearly 10 years ago (probably longer, considering that the research is usually done long before publication).

Thus, for the sake of guns rights advocates, I say, let's do more research! And for sane people, I say, I'm not terribly surprised, and I'm disappointed that state legislatures (like South Carolina) have ignored these kinds of studies.

Provisos: there are lots of things this type of research does not take into account.  First, people in NC are crazy.  Just kidding.  I'd say they are the highest IQ state of the South (although that's not saying a lot) (more seriously, I'd point out that Nascar, which is based in states like NC and Tennessee, has the fans with the highest IQs, of the fans of different sports, on average).

Second, this doesn't explain if the workplaces that permit firearms require licenses, or what kinds of businesses they are, etc.  And lots of other things that I simply am not going to take the time to think about right now.

Third, things can change a lot in 10 years time.  This is one of the reasons why research needs to continue.  The anti-scientism of some of my interlocutors will certain express itself as, don't spend my taxpayer dime for this (when instead you can defund the VA and let vets come back, without a support network, and kill themselves ...) and all scientists lie, yadda yadda yadda.

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