facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Gun Owners Twice as Likely to be Heavy Drinkers

Firearm owners who carry loaded guns in cars are four times as likely to drink and drive.

Image: 

High risk behaviors.
Photo via thinkstockphotos

By Dirk Hanson

06/15/11

| Share

“It's not surprising that risky behaviors go together," said Garen J. Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis and author of a disturbing recent study about handguns and drinking. Firearm owners were more likely than non-gun owners to drink and drive, and to have more than 60 drinks per month, Wintemute found. The study also found that binge drinking was more common among gun owners.

The heaviest alcohol use of all, said the UC Davis researcher, occurred among firearm owners who said that they carried a firearm for protection against other people, or who kept a loaded firearm at home. In addition, gun owners who drove or rode in motor vehicles with loaded guns were more than four times as likely to drink and drive as were people who did not own guns. "This is of particular concern given that alcohol intoxication also impairs a gun user's accuracy as well as his judgment on whether to shoot," said Wintemute.
The study, published online in Injury Prevention, was based on telephone surveys of more than 15,000 people in eight states in 1996. Wintemute said more recent numbers were not available, since only a few states have ever collected such statistics.

One theory about this connection is that underlying personality traits, such as impulsiveness or an inclination to take risks, could lead to an increase in dangerous behavior involving alcohol and guns.

In 2009, there were 30,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S., and more than 78,000 non-fatal gunshot wounds. About one third of firearm-related deaths involve alcohol. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there are 260 to 300 million guns in civilian hands in the United States.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
How I Forgave the Woman Who Helped My Son Die of an Overdose

She introduced him to the drug that eventually killed him. It took a long time, but eventually I had to treat her the way my son would have wanted.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious San Diego rehab has a program for you—if you can tear yourself away from “the most amazing massages ever."

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv