No matter what the National Rifle Association says, more firearms don’t offer protection. Numerous studies have questioned this claim over and over again, including a 2009 paper from Professor Charles Branas and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, which investigated the link between gun possession and gun assault, found that those with firearms were about 4.5 times more likely to be shot than individuals who did not have them. There are several reasons for this.
“A gun may falsely empower its possessor to overreact, instigating and losing otherwise tractable conflicts with similarly armed persons. Along the same lines, individuals who are in possession of a gun may increase their risk of gun assault by entering dangerous environments that they would have normally avoided. Alternatively, an individual may bring a gun to an otherwise gun-free conflict only to have that gun wrested away and turned on them,” wrote the researchers.
Having a weapon may also lead a person to suspect someone else has one too, as shown in a 2012 paper from psychologists Prof. Jessica Witt and Dr. James Brockmole. Several recent cases of gun violence that have drawn national attention occurred because of the false assumption that the victim had a gun.
Nor are women who are armed any safer from rape, as Wayne LaPierre has claimed. The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy Research found that “women living in a home with one or more guns were three times more likely to be murdered; for women who had been abused by their partner, their risk of being murdered rose fivefold if the partner owned a gun.”