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Gun Owners Twice as Likely to Binge Drink as Those Without Firearms


People who own guns are twice as likely to binge drink and to drink and drive, compared with those who don’t own firearms, a new study finds.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis found that heavy alcohol use was most common among firearm owners who also engaged in behaviors such as carrying a firearm for protection against other people, and keeping a firearm at home that was both loaded and not locked away. The study included the results of a telephone survey of more than 15,000 people in eight states.

In the journal Injury Prevention, the researchers conclude that firearm ownership and specific firearm-related behaviors are associated with alcohol-related risk behaviors.  “It’s not surprising that risky behaviors go together,” Garen J. Wintemute, author of the study and director of the university’s Violence Prevention Research Program, told CBS 13 Sacramento. “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.”

10 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Marshall Keith
    Marshall Keith / June 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    AP I agree with your statement “I have my doubts about some of these prohibitionist advocacy groups, so I take anything they publish with the proverbial grain of salt, but your objection here citing generic inanimate objects is ridiculous.” I have seen far too often those with a progressive mindset use studies like this to demonize those they disagree with.

    Of course the lattest tool in politically generated science is that of Meta-analysis.

  2. Avatar of Claudia
    Claudia / June 21, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Sure hope American taxpayers money didn’t have to pay for this study? And the point is?

  3. Avatar of FifthOfNovember
    FifthOfNovember / June 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    The lawnmowers and chain saw references are over the top. However, I am curious, if they performed this study, did they also do a study on the owners of knives,bats, sling shots, or archery equipment? How about pitch forks or spears? In all these mentioned, they are easily made at home, do not require licensing, and all can easily kill a person. All can be used while binge drinking. None have a legal age limitation.

  4. Avatar of Michael Hetzman
    Michael Hetzman / June 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    @AP…I’m wholly non-violent nor am I fearful, however I am a gun owner who has developed skill and competence with same in order to defend myself and family. Further, parents who can legally own a firearm/have the ability to learn to use it and don’t, yet contend they would defend their children at any cost are a classic dichotomy. The author of the study comments, “…that risky behaviors go together…”, would suggest that folks who engage in other “optional” behaviors (i.e., not mowing the grass on Saturday) such as sky-diving, SCUBA diving, mountain climbing, hang-gliding, etc. would also be binge drinkers.
    @Steve…guns are indeed a tool. They are used to strike something at a distance. Their capacity for good/evil is equal to the malice (or absence of) and competence of the person holding them. Do we want people drinking and shooting? Of course not, but nor do we want them operating any other tool with the potential to cause harm, including lawnmowers and chain saws.

  5. Amber / June 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I agree with AP, I couldn’t have put it better myself. On another note, I think Marbee has more of an issue with the Obama administration than this study….

  6. Avatar of Steve Billiter
    Steve Billiter / June 17, 2011 at 7:24 am

    @ TJ,
    Lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other power equipment are hardly in the same class as guns. Murderers primarily use guns to kill people–makes it very easy. Who ever heard of killing by lawnmower? What tools are soldiers issued to become riflemen? To policemen to enforce the law? I personally in the past was a rabid gun owner and a binge alcoholic, and I knew personally many more who were the same. However, I rarely shot firearms or hunted while drinking, but I observed many others who did.

    Drinking causes dissipation, strife,and violence; people are more at odds with other as peace and brotherly love are banished from the heart. Around 65% of murders are committed by those who are intoxicated (what is the weapon of choice?). Alcoholics may become fearful and perceive that they must “arm” themselves for protection.

    The combination of alcohol and firearms is a deadly one indeed.

  7. Avatar of marbee
    marbee / June 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Seems like the same propaganda the obama administration is using in regard to the gov’t selling arms to Mexico and then wanting to take all of ours away! They CREATE a problem and come storming in through the media with the “answer”. It’s ALL nonsense, and We The People won’t stand for it anymore. They’ve stripped business owners with their propaganda of harm from second hand smoke. They got away with that one for the time being, but people are catching on to their charades!

  8. Avatar of AP
    AP / June 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    TJ, I have my doubts about some of these prohibitionist advocacy groups, so I take anything they publish with the proverbial grain of salt, but your objection here citing generic inanimate objects is ridiculous. Ownership of lawnmowers or tools is unlikely to be correlated or causally related with any personality characteristics or social characteristics other than homeownership or other need for those kinds of items. But the perceived need to possess deadly firearms is not randomly distributed throughout society. I would suspect that firearms owners would display personality characteristics that are different from random chance, for example people who are more fearful (whether rationally or irrationally fearful) than average may be more likely to seek firearm ownership than the general population, while people who have strong beliefs in nonviolence will be less likely to possess firearms. Unlike the distribution of lawnmowers or other tools, the interest in possessing firearms is NOT value-neutral. Whether there is a relationship between that and alcohol abuse is a separate question.

  9. Avatar of Paul "Tweek" Tweekrem, BSW
    Paul "Tweek" Tweekrem, BSW / June 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Binge drinkers more likely to own guns? Educate folks on the destructive nature of binge drinking and perhaps the result will be an increase in sober gun owners.

  10. Avatar of TJ
    TJ / June 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    So, that would also mean that people who own lawnmowers, chainsaws and power equipment are also more likely to binge drink. Seriously? What other inanimate objects would be on this list that would cause a person to engage in bad behavior?

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