You're twice as likely as people who do not have a gun at home to down five or more drinks in a single sitting. You're almost two-and-a-half times more likely than people who do not have a gun at home to get behind the wheel of a car when you have, by your own admission, drunk "perhaps too much." And you were just a little less likely than that (2.39 times as likely to be exact) to consume 60 or more drinks per month.
substance abuse researchers call "binge drinking."
Here's the problem: These two broad categories of behavior are often related. Of the 395,366 firearms-related deaths reported in the United States between 1997 -- when this data were actually collected -- and 2009 -- the latest date for which the tally of firearms-related deaths is available -- about one-third are thought to have involved alcohol. In 2007, 34.5% of suicide and homicide victims in the United States had alcohol in their systems at the time of death, and 60% of those were considered acutely intoxicated.
A very large body of research tells us that people who abuse alcohol or drugs are at far higher risk of committing acts of violence and self-harm. Although laws in some states bar the sale of guns to those with alcohol abuse problems, they're often drafted in terms that aren't very specific, and therefore aren't very effective -- forbidding the sale of firearms, for instance, to "habitual drunkards."
These insights were gleaned from a survey of risk behaviors conducted under the auspices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1996 and 1997 and culled by Garen J. Wintemute of UC Davis.