8:15 AM EDT, April 8, 2013
Policymakers charged with creating new gun laws should be guided by scientific evidence. Fortunately, there are data to inform them when considering the National Rifle Association task force proposal to arm more school personnel ("Gun advocates detail plan to arm teachers," April 3).
We don't know whether more guns in schools will make schools safer. However, here is what we do know for certain: Each school staff member who becomes a new gun owner will create a more dangerous home. Epidemiological studies have shown that a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide in a family member (especially for teenagers), murder by a family member or intimate acquaintance (especially for women by their intimate partners) and accidents (especially for children).
Horrific mass killing sprees overwhelm us with despair, then strengthen our resolve to act. But let us act sensibly. The likely outcome of the proposed National Rifle Association policy is an increase in gun deaths in this country where two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, and most women, older people, and children who die from gunshot wounds are killed in homes.
Dr. Robin Weiss, Baltimore
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