202026 Sheriff's Perceptions of Firearm Control Policies

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:00 PM

Amy J. Thompson, PhD, CHES , Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
James H. Price, PhD, MPH , Department of Public Health, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, MPH, CHES , Neurology, University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, OH
Jamie Dowling, MPH , Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

To assess Sheriffs support for firearm control policies and if they are currently involved in enacting various firearm control measures. Sheriffs are in a position to be involved in positive changes regarding firearm control policies.


A stratified random national sample of 650 Sheriffs was selected using the National Sheriffs Association directory. A four-page, 40 item valid and reliable survey was developed to assess respondent's likelihood of firearm policy support, interest, exposure, and involvement with firearm control advocacy. To assess content validity, three experts in survey research and three experts in public policy/law enforcement reviewed the questionnaire. The questionnaire was mailed using a three wave mailing procedure to ensure adequate response rates.


A majority(51%)of Sheriffs completed and returned the survey. Overall, there was support for the majority of firearm policies proposed. Respondents agreed that the government should do everything it can to keep handguns away from criminals even if it is necessary to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase handguns. Firearm policy advocacy efforts in which sheriffs reported their engagement was analyzed by region of the country, education level, gender, years of experience.


Overall, Sheriffs support firearm control policies. Involvement with firearm control advocacy efforts should be increased with Sheriffs.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the role of Sheriffs in shaping various firearm policies and safety recommendations. Identify various firearm policies that Sheriffs support or fail to support. Describe various firearm policy advocacy strategies and discuss the likelihood of Sheriffs participating in such activities.

Keywords: Firearms, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D in health education and have published several articles on this topic
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.