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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: Study Shows 40 Percent of Gun Owners Report Not Locking All Guns, Even Around Kids

While waiting for free firearm storage devices at gun safety events held in sporting goods stores across Washington state, nearly 3,000 people filled out a one-page survey asking how they stored guns at home and other household information.

What the participants reported emphasizes the need for these public events, Seattle Children’s and University of Washington School of Public Health researchers say, because 40 percent of gun owners at the events reported having at least one firearm in their home that was not locked up. In addition, 39 percent of survey takers indicated they kept a loaded gun at home, and 14 percent stored all guns unlocked and loaded.

“Even in this population, which clearly had some interest in or awareness of firearm safety, there was a high prevalence of unlocked firearms,” said lead author Ms. Aisha King, who worked on the study while a graduate student at the University of Washington School of Public Health and as an intern with Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center’s INSIGHT summer research program. Co-authors include Dr. Alison C. Roxby, assistant professor in the Department of Global Health at the UW Schools of Public Health and Medicine, and Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, the Bartley Dobb Professor for the Study and Prevention of Violence and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health.

Furthermore, results of surveys conducted at the events in 10 Washington cities between 2015 and 2018 determined that the presence of children in the home did not make a difference. The study is part of the February 2020 edition of the journal Preventative Medicine.

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