Mark Sloan M.D.

My brother, John Henry Sloan M.D., was the lead author of a 1988 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that compared Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, in terms of rates of specific crimes and, in particular, homicide due to handguns. The two cities were chosen because of their closeness (140 miles), similar demographics, and dramatically different handgun regulations–Vancouver’s laws being far more restrictive.

The study found little difference between the two cities in rates of simple assault, robbery, and burglary. It did find, though, that residents of Seattle were more likely to be victims of homicide, and that the excess risk was entirely due to a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of death by handgun. There was no difference in homicide by any other method.

Their conclusion: “Restricting access to handguns may reduce the rate of homicide in a community.” Wise words that have fallen on politically deaf ears…

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