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November 9, 1994

Firearm Violence and Public Health

Author Affiliations

Bristol, Tenn

JAMA. 1994;272(18):1408. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520180030022

To the Editor.  —In a recent Commentary, Dr Adler and colleagues1 attributed high rates of firearm violence to the large numbers of handguns, rifles, and assault weapons available to the population. While the authors reference Kellermann et al2 as showing that firearms are more likely to kill or injure a member of the firearm owner's household than they are to successfully protect that household, they fail to consider that the firearm owners who became victims may have recognized a higher risk of their becoming a victim and, therefore, went armed. This latter interpretation of the data was conceded in the article by Kellermann et al. If the availability of firearms causes violence, then why are the rates of firearm violence and crime so low in Israel, New Zealand, and Switzerland? After all, these countries have rates of firearms per household similar to that of the United States. In

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