Places with higher gun ownership rates also have higher firearms-related deaths, a new study finds.
In the study, published today (Sept. 20) in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed gun ownership rates, crime rates and deaths from firearms across 27 developed countries around the world.
"The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rates and also has the highest rate of firearm-related deaths," said study co-author Dr. Sripal Bangalore, a cardiologist at the New York University School of Medicine.
Despite the prevalence of high-profile mass shootings, such as the recent Navy shipyard shooting, where the attacker showed signs of mental illness, the prevalence of mental illness in a society is only weakly correlated with gun-related deaths.
Past studies have shown that gun owners are much likelier to be shot with their own weapons than they are to use it to thwart a crime. Other research has shown that gun laws are linked with lower rates of firearms deaths.