weekly blog--one for the ages
As we mourn the deaths in Las Vegas, guns and the rights of those who own them remain a contentious issue. What many people do not know is that people over the age of 65 have the highest rate of firearm ownership in the nation. As much as 40 percent of the country’s older population has a firearm in the home, according to the Pew Research Center.
Older people also have a high prevalence of dementia, depression, and suicide, leading to a lethal situation that adds firearm removal to the list of burdens of caring for older relatives. Concerns are not hypothetical. According to the FBI, in 2014 more than 5,000 people age 65 and older committed suicide using a firearm while at least 200 people in that age group killed someone else.
Conversations around the removal can be particularly thorny in places where firearms are powerful symbols of independence. The larger question looming: should age have a place in the broader national conversation on gun ownership?