To examine gun storage practices and factors influencing those practices among gun owners.
We conducted a nationally representative online survey of US gun owners (n = 1444) in 2016 to assess gun storage practices and attitudes, factors influencing storage practices, and groups that might effectively communicate regarding safe storage. We generated descriptive statistics by using cross-tabulations and used logistic regression to estimate characteristics that influenced safe storage practices.
Forty-six percent of gun owners reported safely storing all of their guns. Factors associated with higher odds of reporting safe storage were having a child in the home (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03, 2.03), only owning handguns (AOR = 1.84; 95% CI = 1.24, 2.73), and reporting that storage decisions were influenced by a gun safety course (AOR = 2.05; 95% CI = 1.54, 2.74) or discussions with family members (AOR = 1.39; 95% CI = 1.05, 1.86). Gun owners ranked law enforcement, hunting or outdoors groups, active-duty military, and the National Rifle Association as most effective in communicating safe storage practices.
Public health campaigns to promote safe gun storage should consider partnering with groups that garner respect among gun owners for their experience with safe use of guns.