drinking and shooting or shooting and drinking.
Those of you not too hungover to be unable to open your eyes have probably seen by now the article written for the LA Times and subsequently picked up by newspapers across the country.
It describes an article in Injury Prevention by Garren J. Winemute Association between firearm ownership, firearm-rel... [Inj Prev. 2011] - PubMed result regarding the association between gun ownership and alcohol use. If you own a gun you are more likely than non-gun owners to drink 5 or more drinks in a single sitting and to drive while having drunk too much.
Or, maybe it's if you tend to drive drunk, you tend to own a gun. (Causality cannot be determined by this sort of study - only associations). The odds ratio (OR) was 1.39. Odds ratio is a non-intuitive way of comparing the odds of something happening in one group to the odds of it happening in the other group. Statisticians favor it for technical reasons but normal people just find it confusing. In horse racing, where the "odds" are actually statistical probabilities you can quickly calculate OR's. Suppose that one horse has odds of 1:2 (i.e. one chance in three he’ll win, and two chances in three he’ll lose), and another horse has odds of 1:4 (i.e. 1 chance in five he’ll win, and four chances in five he’ll lose). The odds ratio of the first horse to the second is (1/2)/(1/4), which is 2. The unfortunate thing is that this does NOT tell you the actual probablilty of the event happening. It could be quite small (e.g. .005/.0025 also =2). This will certainly not stop people from misquoting the findings.
Dr. Winemute has written extensively about guns, gun control, gun accidents, gun shows, firearm possesion, etc. If you go to pubmed.gov and search for his name, a long list of articles will come up; he is quite prolific.
He also points out in this recent study (Inj. Prev. 2011, June 13th) that the OR for drinking and driving with vs without gun ownership is 1.79 and for having more than 60 drinks per month the OR was 1.45. Additionally, "Heavy alcohol use was most common among firearm owners who also engaged in behaviours such as carrying a firearm for protection against other people and keeping a firearm at home that was both loaded and not locked away." The abstract ends with, "The author concludes that firearm ownership and specific firearm-related behaviours are associated with alcohol-related risk behaviours." Or, one could say that alcohol related risk behaviors are associated with firearm ownership. Or that the two things are actually related to a third thing not studied. For example the grass turning green and the flowers blooming are related to each other in time but both are caused by the coming of spring.
We don't know how many alcoholics own guns or how many gun owners are alcoholic. I think it is safe to say that most of us would agree that even if alcohol and gun powder do mix, it would taste terrible. We might even go so far as to say that one shouldn't carry when drinking or drink when carrying just as we might say that drinking and driving are not a good idea. In any case, I'm betting you will hear aobut this study again.