Are Household Firearms Stored Safely? It Depends on Whom You Ask

GVPedia Study Database

Are Household Firearms Stored Safely? It Depends on Whom You Ask

Category: Behavior, Firearm Availability|Journal: Pediatrics (full text)|Author: D Azrael, M Miller|Year: 2000

Objective.

To determine gun storage practices in gun-owning households with children.

 

Design

National random digit-dial telephone survey of 2521 households conducted in March 1999 through July 1999. This study uses a subsample of 434 households with children <18 years old in which a respondent reported either: 1) personally owning a gun, or 2) living in a gun-owning household but not owning a gun themselves. Respondents were asked whether any household gun was currently stored loaded, and, if yes, whether any gun was currently stored loaded and unlocked.

 

Results

Twenty-one percent of gun owners compared with 7% of nonowners reported that a household gun was stored loaded, while 9% and 2%, respectively, reported that a household gun was stored loaded and unlocked. Nongun owners were significantly more likely than were gun owners to be female (87% vs 22%) and to report that they lived in a house with only 1 gun (70% vs 57%) and no handguns (51% vs 31%). Based on the reports of actual gun owners (n = 252), households with children <13 years old were significantly less likely to store a gun loaded and unlocked (multivariate odds ratio: .1; 95% confidence interval: .0,.4) than were households with teenagers only.

 

Conclusions

We find that among gun-owning households with children, nongun owners report significantly lower rates of guns stored loaded and unlocked than do gun owners. These findings are consistent with recent studies that have found that married men are far more likely to report household gun ownership than are married women, and that gun users are far more likely to report that a gun is stored loaded or loaded and unlocked than are never users. Our findings suggest that nongun owners, the vast majority of whom are women (87%), may be unaware that guns in their homes are stored in a manner that experts agree is unsafe.

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