Objective: To systematically review evaluation studies of educational interventions promoting safe firearm storage.
Methods: Medline, ERIC, PsycINFO, Criminal Justice Periodicals Index, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Sociofile were searched. The references from each potentially eligible study were checked, and experts in the field were contacted for additional reports. In addition, an internet search was performed to identify programs not published in the conventional literature. Sources relevant to safe firearm storage promotion were selected and evaluated.
Results: Seven studies met inclusion criteria: adult subjects, program description was included, and firearm storage outcomes were measured. One was a randomized controlled trial and the other six were one group pre-test and/or post-test. The studies were classified into the following categories based on the intervention strategies used: (1). counseling and firearm safety materials (n=3); (2). counseling/educational message (n=3); and (3). firearm safety materials distribution (n=1). The outcomes were safe firearms storage (firearms locked up and unloaded or removal from home) after intervention. Four studies, three using counseling and materials distribution, reported improved storage after the interventions.
Conclusions: It is not yet clear what types of interventions, or which specific intervention components, prompt gun owners to securely store their weapons. Increased understanding of gun storage behaviors and stronger evaluation designs will aid further understanding of this important issue.