Guns at home pose risk to women, children

Last Updated: May 01, 2011, 16:45 PM IST

Washington: Guns at home pose a deadly risk to women and children without according any potential benefit to anyone.

"There is compelling evidence that a gun at home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes," wrote David Hemenway, a professor at Harvard School of Public Health who conducted a study.

It appears that a gun at home may more likely be used to threaten the inmates than to protect them against intruders.

"Whereas most men are murdered away from home," wrote Hemenway, "most children, older adults and women are murdered at home."

Hemenway studied the various risks of having a gun at home including accidents, suicide, homicide and intimidation, the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reports.

It is not just the increased risk by others at home with a gun but also an increased risk of suicide, according to a Harvard statement.

"Even though suicide attempts with guns are infrequent, more Americans kill themselves with guns than with all other methods combined," Hemenway wrote.

"That is because among methods commonly used in suicide attempts, firearms are the most lethal."