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September 3, 1997

Regulating Firearm Advertisements

Author Affiliations

University of South Florida College of Medicine Tampa

JAMA. 1997;278(9):702. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550090026020

To the Editor.  —I disagree with the conclusion of Dr Vernick and colleagues1 that regulating firearm advertisements may be an appropriate public health intervention. I do so principally because their argument is based on the alleged claim by firearm manufacturers that "bringing a handgun into the home is generally protective for the occupants of the home." As I read the advertisements depicted in their article, there was no such "generally protective" claim made, nor could one be reasonably inferred. It seems that the only claim that can reasonably be attributed to these advertisements is that if faced with an intruder, the homeowner is in a better position if armed than if unarmed.Nor should too much be read into Colt's claim that "it may be better to have [a handgun] and not need it, than to need [a handgun] and not have it [italics added]."1 It may indeed. Let us accept