A leading medical journal has found that during the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual conventions, gun-related injuries drop precipitously.

On Wednesday, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study analyzing private health insurance claims for Americans under 65, specifically for emergency room visits between 2007 and 2015 around the time the NRA was having a convention, and then comparing those statistics with emergency room visits three weeks before and three weeks after each convention.

The study found that in the three weeks before and after an NRA convention, emergency rooms treated gun-related injuries at a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 Americans. However, during the actual convention, emergency rooms treated gunshot wounds at a rate of just 1.2 per 100,000 people — a 20 percent drop.

In his latest study, [lead author Anupam] Jena, an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, wanted to know what data revealed about firearms injuries nationwide when tens of thousands of gun owners suddenly leave home and head to the same location.

What drove Jena to conduct this analysis was the argument that if people were trained to use guns more safely, then fewer gun injuries would occur. In the report, the authors suggest “firearm-safety concerns and risks of injury are relevant even among experienced gun owners.”

While the NRA prides itself on being the go-to organization for responsible gun owners, it doesn’t mean the conventions themselves are always 100 percent safe. At a convention in 2014, a Pennsylvania NRA member accidentally shot himself (the injury was not life-threatening). And last year, during a firearms training course at the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, an NRA member shot himself when his handgun unexpectedly discharged. The man lived and no charges were filed.


Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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