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Fewer hit by gunfire when fans flock to NRA events

Bullets
point: Gun
lovers at
an NRA
meeting in
Louisville,
Kentucky
PICTURE: GETTY

FEWER people are shot in the US when gun lovers attend National Rifle Association conventions, a survey has revealed.

Gun injuries fell by 20 per cent during the NRA’s national gathering, Harvard medical school researchers found.

The NRA, which has long opposed stricter gun controls, has come under increasing pressure in the wake of the Parkland high school massacre in Florida when 17 people were shot dead.

It has pointed out that it offers courses designed to ‘ensure the safe and effective use of firearms’.

But senior researcher Dr Anupam Jena said: ‘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.’

NRA meetings attract 80,000 or more visitors from across the US. Dr Jena said they provided an interesting ‘natural experiment’ to see what happens when a large number of avid gun users take a few days off from shooting.

His team’s research, based on 76million medical insurance claims at hospitals between 2007 and 2015, found that gun injuries on non-NRA convention days occurred at a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 people, while on convention dates it was 1.25.

Dr Jena added: ‘No matter how one feels about guns, one thing that we should all recognise is that owning and operating a firearm entails risk.’

ONE of the US’s biggest gun retailers has stopped selling assault weapons in the wake of the Florida school massacre. Dick’s Sporting Goods also refuse to sell guns to anyone aged under 21. Boss Edward Stack said the company ‘felt it needed to do something’ after it emerged shooter Nickolas Cruz, 19, had purchased a weapon at a Dick’s store. The firearm was not used in the Parkland high school shooting.