Community firearms, community fear

Epidemiology. 2000 Nov;11(6):709-14. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200011000-00017.


To examine how perceptions of safety are influenced as more people in a community acquire firearms, we conducted a nationally representative random-digit-dial survey of 2,500 adults and asked whether respondents would feel more safe, less safe, or equally safe if more people in their community were to acquire guns. We used multivariable logistic regression to explore correlates of perceived safety while taking into account various confounders. Fifty percent of respondents reported that they would feel less safe if more people in their community were to own guns; 14% reported they would feel more safe. Women and minorities were more likely than were men and Whites to feel less safe as others acquire guns, with Odds ratios of 1.7 and 1.5, respectively. Our findings suggest that most Americans are not impervious to the psychological effects of guns in their community, and that, by a margin or more than 3 to 1, more guns make others in the community feel less safe rather than more safe.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Demography
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Opinion*
  • Random Allocation
  • Safety*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Telephone
  • United States