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Study Allowing Guns May Increase Risk of Workplace Violence

May 4, 2005
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A new study suggests guns at work can increase the danger for employees.

Workplaces where guns were permitted were “about five times as likely to experience a homicide as those where all weapons were prohibited,” according to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health. The research was conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of North Carolina.

The news runs counter to the arguments made by gun rights advocates in some states, including Ohio and Oklahoma, who have lobbied in favor of allowing guns in the workplace. Chad Baus, coordinator of the Northwest Ohio division of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, says, “Banning the human right to self-defense for employees has proven time and again to be a complete failure.” Several restaurants in Indiana and elsewhere allow pizza drivers to carry guns because of a number of robbery attempts against drivers.

The researchers studied North Carolina workplaces that banned all weapons, workplaces that allowed some weapons (such as chemical sprays) and those that allowed guns. When weapons other than guns were allowed, the workplaces it studied showed only small increases in homicide. The risk of homicide rose sharply when guns were allowed.

The team, led by professor Dana Loomis, said the study still leaves questions unanswered, such as how often employees had guns at work. However, the study concludes, “in light of the evidence, it is reasonable to question the costs and benefits of policies permitting firearms in the workplace.”

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