UC Davis Study: Gun Ownership Linked To Heavy Drinking

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A new study from UC Davis finds a disturbing link between people who own guns and heavy alcohol use.

UCD researchers found that gun owners are twice as likely to engage in binge drinking, chronic heavy drinking, and drinking and driving as people who don’t own guns.

Perhaps more disturbing, the study found alcohol abuse was most common among gun-owners who engage in risky behavior like having a loaded, unlocked gun in the home and driving or riding in a vehicle with a loaded gun.

“It’s not surprising that risky behaviors go together,” said Garen J. Wintemute, author of the study and director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program. “This is of particular concern given that alcohol intoxication also impairs a gun user’s accuracy as well as his judgment on whether to shoot.”

The UC Davis study is published online in the journal Injury Prevention.  Researchers analyzed telephone survey results for more than 15,000 people in eight states.

The article does not say owning guns is the reason for the drinking or vice-versa.  However it suggests that drinking can impair judgment and lead people to use guns in dangerous ways.  It also suggests that personality traits, such as impulsiveness or risk-taking, could lead to an increase in dangerous behavior involving alcohol and guns.

  • madashell

    Hmm? I recall the most binge drinking I have ever seen was in my 20 years living in Florida watching “college educated people” on spring break.

    • misspellerhick

      Too bad they won’t release the KNOW results on studies that make them look bad. IE.
      Moronic college professors and researchers lead students to binge drinking and risky behaviors.

    • Clark Griswold

      Them “college educated people” aren’t runnin’ around with them guns like them “non college educated people” livin’ in your trailer park who look like Cousin Eddie.

      • jeff

        @ Clark Whose is to say they aren’t? and your right those “college educated people” are probably working for the state living a mediocre live not expanding there minds past college…after you get a job at anyplace that will hire you because now you want to look like you have made something of yourself. But you have not made something of yourself. You have merely parents who are willing to go into debt to have UC DAVIS indoctrinate..I mean “educate” you. I see this comment offended you because you binge every now and then I take it. I’m sure with a last name like Griswold your great grandpapi was one of those trailer park “non college educated people”.

  • http://health.universityofcalifornia.edu/2011/06/16/in-the-media-week-of-june-12/ In the media: Week of June 12 | UC Health

    […] UC Davis study: Gun ownership linked to heavy drinking, CBS 13 […]

  • jeff

    For most people, it’s just common sense that it is never a good idea to consume alcoholic beverages to the point that one’s judgment and physical capabilities are impaired, particularly if one is going to operate a vehicle or other machine, such as a firearm.

    But for Garen Wintemute, the longtime gun control-advocacy junk researcher at the University of California at Davis, who promotes himself as “one of the world’s foremost experts on gun-related violence,” talking about alcohol and guns in the same breath is just another way to do what he most likes to do–expressing his feeling that guns and gun owners are inherently unsafe–and getting paid for doing it.

    His new “study,” published by Injury Prevention, pushes the idea that gun owners, particularly those who keep and carry firearms for protection, are more likely to drink heavily and often. Not surprisingly, it was paid for by the anti-gun Joyce Foundation, which has given $26 million to anti-gun groups and causes between 2003 and the present, and the California Wellness Foundation. And to make sure the money keeps coming in, Wintemute says “new and more comprehensive [funded] research is needed, since legislation authorizing the public carrying of loaded and concealed firearms has become almost universal in the United States.”

    There aren’t too many jobs in which you can get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing not much more than punching the time clock and making sure the boss knows about it. But Wintemute’s sugar daddies and mommas at the anti-gun foundations don’t seem to care. Wintemute even admits the limitations of his latest diatribe.

    For starters, Wintemute’s poll depends on the truthfulness of the poll’s respondents. Undoubtedly and understandably, habitual drunkenness is viewed with disrespect in our society, and some people won’t admit such behavior to a stranger conducting a telephone poll. Similarly, people may be unwilling to admit gun ownership to strangers, to protect themselves against being burglarized or placed on gun owner registration lists. It’s not mere coincidence that national polls began showing a significant decline in gun ownership in the early 1990s, as the Clinton Administration’s multi-faceted campaign against the right to arms took shape.

    Also, the eight states Wintemute used for his study were self-selecting on a basis he does not disclose. Polls suffering from this limitation are referred to as “SLOP,” for “self-selecting opinion poll,” because the self-selection process can inject bias into poll question responses and severely skew the poll’s findings.

    Wintemute’s study doesn’t even try to determine whether there is any greater incidence of mishaps or misconduct, firearm-related or not, among gun owners who consume alcohol. But that might be for good reason. After all, as Right-to-Carry laws have become “almost universal,” the nation’s murder rate has fallen to a 47-year low. Maybe Wintemute understands the meaning of the old axiom, “if you don’t want the answer, don’t ask the question.”

    • shorten_it_up

      your comments are too long

      • Confucius

        It’s pretty pathetic that you can’t read something longer than the contents of a fortune cookie.

      • JustLurkin

        Yeah, very well thought out and expressed. And your rejoinder is:your comments are too long.

        How the hell did you ever get through the article?

  • david

    15 thousand people out of some 300 million population? just seems odd, would think 15 thousand out of each state of the union would give a more accurate finding. wonder how participants were selected, random or by city. were cities with high crime selected or were those random too? ucd is extremely liberal as is davis itself so is this study suspect to begin with because of ucd politics and that of davis?

  • walljasper

    I call shenanigans. This is another lefty trying to use “science” to ramrod an agenda.

    No surprise.

  • Bob

    I am not surprised at all that this study came out of California. It is the only place it WOULD come out of. Hell, living in California is enough to drive you to drinking. Cali… just become your own country, you don’t want to be a member of the USA anyway.


    As a Federally Licensed Firearms Manufacture, I can tell you with confidence that Wintemute’s disingenuous research is well established.
    Where is the UC Davis Ethics & Compliance Risk Committee when the public needs them?

  • Skip

    Bad Science at any level should be questioned, This is why Peer review of articles for publication is so necessary. Personal agenda has to be discounted and this article feeds another witch hunt called gun control. Where would this Professor be without the second amendment…oh yeah…Europe.

  • Jackie

    The results of my latest research…college professors with agendas, collecting taxpayer dollars will 99.9% of the time produce results that are biased.

  • Aundre

    Wham bam thank you, ma’am, my questions are asnerewd!

  • Sing141

    Me thinks any study coming out of UC Davis is never going to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  • Rafael

    Study: Lack of gun ownership linked to heavy marijuana smoking.

    See? I can make stuff up, too.

  • Scott

    When a professor decides that he or she wants to make up a study, I mean start one they usually start with the outcome instead of looking at the data. You can get any answer you want when you want to look for somehting specific. It would be interesting to actually see the statitics on how this plays out. What deviation was used to score this study? What is disturbing is that this is being passed off as news.

    • Ken Hamlett

      I find it important to report this because the public needs to know of misguided “research”. Otherwise someone in the future will site it after the actual data is long gone and pretend that it is valid. We are forewarned and won’t be fooled .
      Otherwise your post is quite valid and I would also like to see the raw data and protocol used.

  • Dr Phill

    ROFL.! And we’re supposed to believe a study coming out of UC Davis? About GUNS? Wow, Liberals really DO think we’re rubes, don’t they. I can just hear them in the faculty lounge…”Second Amendment, What Second Amendment?

  • http://recoveryradio.net/2011/08/20/gun-owners-twice-as-likely-to-binge-drink-as-those-without-firearms/ Recovery Radio Network Blog » Blog Archive » Gun Owners Twice as Likely to Binge Drink as Those Without Firearms

    […] author of the study and director of the university’s Violence Prevention Research Program, told CBS 13 Sacramento. “This is of particular concern given that alcohol intoxication also impairs a gun user’s […]

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