Firearm storage patterns in US homes with children

Am J Public Health. 2000 Apr;90(4):588-94. doi: 10.2105/ajph.90.4.588.


Objectives: This study determined the prevalence and storage patterns of firearms in US homes with children.

Methods: We analyzed data from the 1994 National Health Interview Survey and Year 2000 objectives supplement. A multistage sample design was used to represent the civilian noninstitutionalized US population.

Results: Respondents from 35% of the homes with children younger than 18 years (representing more than 22 million children in more than 11 million homes) reported having at least 1 firearm. Among homes with children and firearms, 43% had at least 1 unlocked firearm (i.e., not in a locked place and not locked with a trigger lock or other locking mechanism). Overall, 9% kept firearms unlocked and loaded, and 4% kept them unlocked, unloaded, and stored with ammunition; thus, a total of 13% of the homes with children and firearms--1.4 million homes with 2.6 million children--stored firearms in a manner most accessible to children. In contrast, 39% of these families kept firearms locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.

Conclusions: Many children live in homes with firearms that are stored in an accessible manner. Efforts to prevent children's access to firearms are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Firearms* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States