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April 11, 1977

Handguns and Homicide

JAMA. 1977;237(15):1558-1559. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270420026006

To the Editor.—  In his article, Dr Charles Browning correctly implies in his last sentence that physicians have an obligation to their patients. As professionals, we have an obligation to our patients and to the public that requires that our scientific curiosity be used to consider all the data in an unbiased approach to arrive at an accurate conclusion.Dr Browning's entire argument is based on the theory that handgun controls will decrease the rate of homicide. The most extensive and sophisticated national study done on this subject, carried out under federal funding at the University of Wisconsin in 1974 and 1975, was an analysis that took into account every demographic variable that was found to have any statistically significant impact on a comparison of states with differing gun laws. The study found that "the conclusion is inevitably that gun-control laws have no individual or collective effect in reducing the