Common sense would suggest that shooting a gun, like other behaviors requiring sound judgment and steady motor skills, is an activity best performed when sober. But apparently, many Americans do not agree.
Between 1997 and 2009, there were an estimated 395,366 firearm-related deaths in the United States, and about one-third of them are believed to have been alcohol-related [source: Healy]. In 2010, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania who conducted a review of U.S. laws restricting the use of firearms by intoxicated persons were motivated in part by these important facts:
- Injury is the leading cause of alcohol-related death in the United States.
- Alcohol is the leading risk factor for injury in the United States.
- Nearly as many alcohol-related deaths result from firearm injuries (one-fifth of all alcohol-related injuries) as from drunk driving accidents (one-fourth of all alcohol-related injuries).
But while every state has drunk driving laws on the books, the researchers found that only 26 states have any sort of law regarding the use of firearms while intoxicated [source: Carr et al.]. And that brings us to the top item on our list of that you should never mix with alcohol.