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  • Ryan Wittler

Californians Who Live with Handgun Owners Are Twice as Likely to Die by Homicide


A new study from researchers at Stanford University has found that Californians who live with a handgun owner are more likely to die by homicide than people in households without a gun.

Study highlights:

The 12-year long study found the people who lived in a household with a handgun owner were 2.33 times as likely to die by homicide than those in homes without any guns.

  • People living with handgun owners were also 2.83 times as likely to die by homicide with a firearm than people in gun-free homes.

  • The researchers followed a cohort of 17 million California adults from October 2004 to December 2016, following individuals for an average of 6.9 years.

Among homicides that happened in homes, people living with a handgun owner were seven times as likely to be killed by a spouse or intimate partner than people not living with a handgun owner.

  • The researchers also found that 84% of the victims were women.

Overall, the findings suggest that for every 100,000 California adults who didn’t own a handgun but began living with someone who did, 4.03 more were killed by a firearm in the first five years of cohabitating than they would have if their household remained gun-free.


The researchers say that while protecting oneself and loved ones in the home is often the reason people purchase handguns, the findings suggest people – particularly women – may be safer keeping their homes gun-free.

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