The association of handgun ownership and storage practices with safety consciousness

Academic Article


  • Background: As with other injury prevention practices, education about safe firearm storage is recommended to prevent injuries to children. Objective: To assess whether parents who are safety conscious in other respects also practice firearm safety. Methods: Data come from responses to a baseline survey administered as part of an intervention study. Participants were consenting adults who brought a child into an emergency department. These analyses were restricted to those parents who had young children (<7 years) and who kept a firearm in their house. A safety consciousness score was developed; participants earned a point for each of 7 home and car safety behaviors they reported practicing. The relationship between safety consciousness with handgun ownership and firearm storage practices was assessed with Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test. Results: Of the 221 participants, most reported that they keep poisonous substances out of children's reach (92%), always keep children restrained when in cars (90%), have the'telephone number for a poison control center (82%), change smoke alarm batteries annually (73%), keep electrical outlets capped (72%), and keep their tap water temperature at 120°F (49°C) or less (65%). Only 22% reported checking smoke alarm batteries monthly. The median safety score was 4 (mean [SD], 3.99 [1.4]). Fiftysix percent said there was a handgun in their home, 27% reported an unlocked gun, 20% reported a loaded gun, and 7% reported a loaded and unlocked gun. Results were not consistent with safety consciousness being associated with safe firearm storage practices or the absence of a handgun. Conclusion: Compliance with safety practices may not be associated with safe firearm storage.
  • Published In

  • JAMA Pediatrics  Journal
  • JAMA Pediatrics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 955357
  • Author List

  • Coyne-Beasley T; McGee KS; Johnson RM; Clayton Bordley W
  • Start Page

  • 763
  • End Page

  • 768
  • Volume

  • 156
  • Issue

  • 8