Gun Control Research

A selected bibliography of gun control research from medical, legal, and economic journals is presented (and expanded as time permits). If available, an online abstract or full-text link is given, along with a link to where the paper's subject or contents are mentioned or analyzed at GunCite.


"Although the public generally perceives medical research as the highest order of precision, much of the epidemiologic research is, in fact, rather imprecise and understandably so because it has been conducted principally by individuals with no formal education and little on-the-job training in the scientific method. Consequently, studies are often poorly designed and data are often inappropriately analyzed and interpreted. Moreover, biases are so commonplace, they appear to be the rule, rather than the exception. It is virtually impossible not to recognize that many researchers routinely manipulate and/or interpret their data to fit preconceived hypotheses, rather than manipulate hypotheses to fit their data. Much of the literature, therefore, is nothing less than an affront to the discipline of science. . . . The fraud is so pervasive that it was considered necessary to take some liberties with the usual staid rhetoric of scientific review and inject stronger language to emphasize the problem. . . . Equally culpable are the editors of the many journals who publish articles without regard to their quality or scientific import."

Those familiar with the gun control debate might think the above quote is attributable to a critic of the firearms related articles that have appeared in prestigious medical journals. However, the doctor who made those statements (not the book's author) was actually commenting on the integrity of diet-heart-cholesterol research. (Ravnskov, Uffe, MD, PhD, The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease, NewTrends Publishing Inc., Washington, D.C., 2002, pp. 266-68.)

The point of the above and the following quote (again from The Cholesterol Myths) is to encourage the reader to develop an analytical framework and healthy skepticism towards information gathering regardless of the subject or source:

"After a lecture, a journalist asked me how she could be certain that my information was not just as biased as that of the cholesterol campaign. At first I did not know what to say. Afterwards I found the answer.

"She could not be certain. Everyone must gain the truth in an active way. If you want to know something you must look at all the premises yourself, listen to all the arguments yourself, and then decide for yourself what seems to be the most likely answer. You may be easily led astray if you ask the authorities to do this work for you.

"This is also the answer to those who wonder why even honest scientists are misled. And it is also the answer to those who, after reading this book, ask the same question." (p. 270.)

(Of course, the same advice applies to visitors of this site as well.)

Journal Articles

Kellermann, Arthur, and DT Reay, "Protection or peril? An analysis of firearm-related deaths in the home," New England Journal of Medicine, June 12, 1986, Vol. 314 No. 24, pp. 1557-60.
Sound bite: A homeowner's gun is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder therefore "the advisability of keeping firearms in the home for protection must be questioned." [Abstract] [Analysis or commentary]

_____ et al., "Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home," New England Journal of Medicine, October 7, 1993, Vol. 329 No. 15, pp. 1084-91.
Sound bite: In homes with guns, a member of the household is almost three times as likely to be the victim of a homicide compared to gun-free homes. [Abstract] [Full text (PDF scroll-down)] [Analysis or commentary]

Kleck, Gary, and Marc Gertz, "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun," Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 1995, Vol. 86 No. 1., pp. 150-87.
Sound bite: Survey estimates that in the U.S., each year, there are between 2.2 and 2.5 million defensive gun uses by civilians against humans. [Analysis or commentary]

_____, and Michael Hogan, "National case-control study of homicide offending and gun ownership," Social Problems, May, 1999, Vol. 46 Iss. 2, pp. 275-93.
Sound bite: The odds of a person with a gun killing are about 1.36 times as high as the odds among persons without a gun. (Curiously, this study is seldom cited by either side of the gun control debate.) [Full text]