Gunshot wounds are down by 20% when annual conventions of the powerful US weapons lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA) are happening, conclude researchers Wednesday.
Their study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, does not prove, however, that there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the two phenomena, and is an empirical observation. However, according to the scientists’ hypothesis, this decrease is due to “the short period when people refrain from using weapons during these conventions”.
More than 80,000 people from all over the United States travel to the NRA conventions each year. According to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 65,000 intentional shootings in the United States in 2014, and 16,000 per accident.
“Fewer people using weapons mean less gunshot wounds, which is not really a surprise,” says Dr. Anupam Jena, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, and principal author of the study. “The lack of injury during these big conventions, to which thousands of gun owners go, seems to contradict the belief that these injuries are only caused by the lack of experience in the handling of weapons,” he added.
The study was based on 76 million completed insurance claims after hospitalizations due to weapons injuries between 2007 and 2015.
The researchers compared two data: the number of injuries that occurred during the days of the week when the NRA conventions were held, and the number of injuries that occurred on the same days of the week, but three weeks before or after the conventions.
The difference between the two is 20%: “1.5 injuries per 100,000 people when there are no conventions, against 1.25 during convention periods”.