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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3151.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Board 7

Abstract #109135

Distribution of firearm ownership in the United States: Findings from the 2004 National Firearms Survey

Lisa M. Hepburn, PhD, MPH, Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, Deborah Azrael, PhD, and David Hemenway, PhD. Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, 404-377-1406, lhepburn@hsph.harvard.edu

Purpose: We conducted a nationally representative survey to determine patterns of firearm ownership in the United States and to compare current trends with historical data. In particular, we were interested in the size and composition of the stock of privately held firearms in the United States, as well as ownership demographics and patterns of firearm acquisition. Methods: A nationally representative telephone survey was conducted in spring 2004. It includes responses from 2770 adults. Results: Thirty-nine percent of households and 28% of individuals reported owning at least one firearm. The majority of firearm owners own more than one firearm, with 60% owning three or more. Over 50% of firearm owners own both a handgun and long gun, but long guns represent 62% of the privately held gun stock. Men more frequently reported firearm ownership, with 45% stating they personally owned at least one firearm, compared to 11% for women. Respondents who had served in the military or had grown up with a firearm in their home were significantly more likely than those who had not to report owning a firearm. The most common reason for owning a handgun was self-defense. Long guns were primarily owned for hunting and sport shooting. Conclusions: Firearm ownership is widespread in the United States with over 60 million adults owning at least one firearm. Among firearm owners, however, ownership appears to be concentrated with 20% of firearm owners owning more than 60% of the firearms. Ownership demographic patterns support findings of previous studies.

Learning Objectives:

  • The participants will

    Keywords: Firearms,

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

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    The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA