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Washington,Feb 23 (Canadian-Media): An internet-based survey fielded by the survey research firm GfK Knowledge Networks between March 15 and April 13, 2016, revealed 54 percent of gun owners reported not storing all their guns safely, media reports said.
This survey is reportedly the first nationally representative sample in 15 years to examine gun storage practices in U.S. households.
The survey definition based on research practices says that safe storage is when all guns stored in a locked gun safe, cabinet or case, locked into a gun rack or stored with a trigger lock or other lock.
The findings will reportedly be published Feb. 22 in the American Journal of Public Health.
“Storage Practices of U.S. Gun Owners” was written by Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, Mitchell L. Doucette, MPH, Emma E. McGinty, PhD, MPH, Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, and Colleen Barry, PhD, MPH.
“Household gun ownership can increase the risk of homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings in the home, but practicing safe storage for all guns reduces these risks. The survey findings indicate a real public health emergency. More than half of gun owners in the U.S. are not storing all of their guns safely...with a trigger lock.” Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and lead study author was reported to state.
The survey also revealed that children below 18 years of age were present in approximately one-third of the homes.
In 2016 there were reportedly 1,637 firearm deaths among children under the age of 18; 39 percent of these deaths were due to suicide.
When respondents were asked about factors that influenced their gun storage practices, 43 percent said they were concerned about home defense, a gun safety training course by 35 percent, and family discussions by 30 percent.
A reportedly decreased risk for self-inflicted injury among adolescents when guns are stored safely.
“It’s encouraging to see the positive associations between safety training and reporting safe storage practices,” said study co-author Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “Requiring gun purchasers to take safety training classes, as a handful of states already do, might lead to more gun owners storing their guns safely.”
The survey also found that gun owners who reported that their storage decisions were influenced by concerns about home defense were 30 percent less likely to practice safe storage for all their firearms.
Gun owners when questioned about the best safety procedures taken by them it was revealed that
77 percent of respondents selected law enforcement, followed by hunting/outdoor organizations (73 percent), active duty military (73 percent), military veterans (72 percent), and the NRA (71 percent). Physicians and celebrities scored lowest (19 percent and 11 percent, respectively).
Funding for the research came from grants to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research from the Simmons Foundation.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)