Firearm Practices, Perceptions of Safety, and Opinions on Injury Prevention Strategies among California Adults

Rocco Pallin, Garen J. Wintemute, Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Importance: Safe firearm storage and other interventions may reduce pediatric firearm deaths and injuries. Objective: To compare firearm ownership and storage practices, opinions on firearm injury prevention strategies, and perceptions of safety among adults in California households with and without children and/or adolescents. Design, Setting, and Participants: This survey study used data from the 2018 California Safety and Well-being Survey, a California-representative, probability-based internet survey. Respondents were part of the Ipsos KnowledgePanel, an online research panel that uses address-based sampling and provides survey weights to produce estimates representative of the adult population of California. Main Outcomes and Measures: Topics included firearm storage practices, opinions on interventions to reduce pediatric firearm injury, and perceptions of household safety related to firearm ownership. Respondents were stratified by firearm ownership and household presence or absence of children and/or adolescents. Weighted percentages and 95% CIs are presented. Results: Of 5232 invited panel members, 2558 (48.9%) completed the survey. Among respondents, 52.5% (95% CI, 49.3%-55.7%) were women, 42.9% (95% CI, 39.9%-45.9%) were White, 30.0% (95% CI, 26.8%-32.9%) lived in homes with children, and the mean (SD) age was 48.0 (17.1) years. Among those in homes with children, more than two-thirds of individuals who owned firearms (70.6% [95% CI, 50.1%-85.2%]) and more than half of individuals who did not own firearms but lived in homes with guns (54.9% [95% CI, 37.9%-70.8%]) reported that they believed a firearm in the home made it safer. Half of those who owned firearms (52.3% [95% CI, 34.9%-69.2%]) and more than three-quarters of individuals who did not own firearms but lived in homes with guns (78.4% [95% CI, 57.5%-90.7%]) reported it was always appropriate for parents to inquire about unlocked guns in homes where their children play. Among those who had previously owned at least 1 gun but no longer did, 13.3% (95% CI, 7.1%-23.8%) reported getting rid of guns at least in part due to concern for the safety of a child in the home. Nearly two-thirds of those who owned firearms living with children and/or adolescents (64.5% [95% CI, 46.5%-79.2%]) did not store all firearms in the most secure manner (ie, unloaded and locked up), compared with 36.4% (95% CI, 29.4%-44.1%) of individuals who owned firearms but did not live with children. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, although a substantial percentage of individuals who owned guns and lived with children did not store all firearms as recommended, parents and caregivers who owned firearms reported being amenable to interventions that reduce young people's risk of firearm-related harm. Future work should investigate acceptable risk reduction and safe storage interventions..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19146
JournalJAMA Network Open
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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