Firearm ownership and acquisition in California: findings from the 2018 California Safety and Well-being Survey

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Firearm ownership and acquisition in California: findings from the 2018 California Safety and Well-being Survey

Category: Firearm Availability, Gun Markets|Journal: JAMA Network Open (full text)|Author: D Azrael, G Wintemute, M Miller, N Kravitz-Wirtz, R Pallin|Year: 2020

Objective

To describe the prevalence of and factors associated with firearm ownership; the types, subtypes and quantity of firearms owned; and when, where and why firearms were acquired in California.

 

Methods

A cross-sectional analysis of a state-representative, probability-based, internet survey of California adults was conducted in September–October 2018 (n=2558; completion rate 49%). Household firearm ownership was ascertained for all respondents; personal firearm ownership was ascertained only among respondents who reported living in a home with firearms; and information on the types and quantity of firearms owned and details about recently acquired firearms came from firearm owners only.

 

Findings

Roughly one in four (25%, 95% CI 22% to 28%) California adults live in a home with a firearm, including 4.2 million adults—14% (95% CI 13% to 16%) of the adult population—who personally own a firearm. These owners collectively own an estimated 19.9 million firearms (8.9 million handguns). Approximately half (48%, 95% CI 34% to 61%) of the firearm stock in California is owned by the 10% (95% CI 6% to 14%) of owners who own 10 or more firearms, though more than half (54%, 95% CI 47% to 62%) of owners in the state own only one or two firearms. Most (69%, 95% CI 63% to 75%) owners purchased their last firearm from a firearm retailer, usually a handgun purchased primarily for protection against people.

 

Conclusion

This study provides the most detailed and up-to-date information available on firearm ownership and acquisition in California. Results can inform firearm violence prevention efforts and public health, safety and policy development in California and nationally.

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