Gunshot-related deaths and injuries temporarily show a dramatic decline when the National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention, according to a new analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The authors say it’s evidence that firearms – even in the hands of experienced users – are inherently dangerous and accidents don’t just happen among novices.
Dr. Anupam Jena of Harvard Medical School and Andrew Olenski of Columbia University compared firearm injuries during the conventions each year from 2007 through 2015 with injury rates three weeks before and three weeks after each event.
A decline of 63 percent was seen in the states where the conventions were being held, apparently due to large numbers of gun owners being at the events, as well as, in some cases, gun venues such as firing ranges or hunting grounds having closed while their staff attended the convention.
Nationally, there was a 20 percent reduction in firearm injuries during the convention.
In contrast, gun-related crime did not decrease during the conventions.
The drop in injuries was only seen among men. It was most prominent in the states with the highest rate of gun ownership, and among people living in the South and the West.
“These findings are consistent with reductions in firearm injuries occurring as a result of lower rates of firearm use during the brief period when many firearm owners and owners of places where firearms are used may be attending an NRA convention,” they said. “Our results suggest that firearm-safety concerns and risks of injury are relevant even among experienced gun owners.”