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

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Publication Date: September 2000

Publisher(s): American Academy of Pediatrics

Author(s): Deborah Azrael, MS; Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD; David Hemenway, PhD

Series:

Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Human rights (Civil and political rights)
Human rights (Human rights promotion and violations)

Keywords: gun patrol ; gun-owning families; household guns

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

This study finds that among gun owning households with children, non-gun owners report significantly lower rates of guns being stored loaded and unlocked than do gun owners. These findings are consistent with other 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. The findings suggest that non-gun 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.
The findings reinforce the importance of many pediatricians' current efforts to offer anticipatory guidance about firearms to gun-owning families, and, in addition, suggest that this guidance can be adapted depending on whether the physician is speaking with a gun-owning or non-gun owning parent. In particular, because gun owners (mostly fathers) are less likely to bring children to the pediatrician's office than are non-owners (mostly mothers), physicians should take advantage of any opportunities that they have to address gun-related issues with parents who personally own guns.