US Safer From Injuries When Gun Owners at NRA Conventions
Researchers say it shows guns are still a safety concern in the hands of experienced users
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2018 5:19 PM CST
In this April 25, 2014 file photo, attendees look over a pistol display at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

(Newser) – It seems Americans are safest from gun-related injuries and deaths when thousands of gun owners are busy attending the NRA's annual convention, Ars Technica reports. An analysis published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine found gun-related injuries dropped 20% nationwide during annual NRA conventions between 2007 and 2015 and 63% in the states hosting the conventions. These reductions were seen despite no corresponding reduction in crime rates. The biggest drop in gun injuries was for men living in states with high levels of gun ownership in the South and West. "The drop in gun injuries during these large meetings attended by thousands of well-trained gun owners seems to refute the idea that gun injuries stem solely from lack of experience and training in gun use," analysis author Dr. Jena Anupam tells CNN.

Jennifer Baker, the director of public affairs for the NRA, says the analysis "is another example of when data and numbers fly in the face of logic and common sense." But the chair of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin tells Reuters it "passes the sniff test." "It makes sense that decreased exposure and decreased usage would result in fewer events," says Dr. Stephen Hargarten, who wasn't involved in the analysis. Anupam says it's possible NRA conventions have an outsize impact on gun injuries and deaths because attendees are the most intense users of guns. So it's good news for the safety of Americans then—at least for the few days of the year when there's an NRA convention—that Time is reporting a spike in NRA memberships in the wake of the Parkland shooting and ensuing conversation about gun control.

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