Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, Deborah Azrael, PhD, David Hemenway, PhD, and Mary Vriniotis, MS. Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Kresge 342, Boston, MA 02115, 617-432-3271, firstname.lastname@example.org
We use pooled state level mortality data (1991-2000) to examine the association between rates of unintentional firearm death and firearm storage practices. State level data on the percentage of individuals living in households with guns and the percentage of individuals living in households with firearms who store their firearms loaded or loaded and unlocked were obtained from the 2002 BRFSS survey. Across 49 U.S. States (excluding California due to differences in their BRFSS storage questions), 33% of Americans lived in households with firearms, 22% of whom lived in households with loaded guns and 13% in households with guns that were loaded and unlocked. A disproportionately large share of unintentional firearm fatalities occurred in states with high firearm prevalence and, holding prevalence constant, in states where gun owners were more likely to store their firearms loaded or loaded and unlocked. In our models, independent of firearm prevalence, each 1% increase in the percentage of individuals who store their firearms loaded was associated with a 4% increase in the rate of unintentional firearm deaths and each 1% increase in the percentage of individuals store their firearms loaded and unlocked was associated with a 7% increase in the rate of overall unintentional firearm deaths. Our findings support previous recommendations, such as requiring devices that prevent firearms from functioning when handled by unintended users and suggest that promoting safer storage practices could save many lives.
Keywords: , Firearms
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA