Improving firearm storage in Alaska native villages: a randomized trial of household gun cabinets

Am J Public Health. 2012 May;102 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S291-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300421. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Objectives: We determined if the installation of gun cabinets improved household firearm storage practices.

Methods: We used a wait list, randomized trial design with 2 groups. The "early" group received the intervention at baseline, and the "late" group received it at 12 months. Up to 2 gun cabinets were installed in each enrolled home, along with safety messages. In-person surveys were conducted at 12 and 18 months to determine the proportion of households reporting unlocked guns or ammunition. Direct observations of unlocked guns were also compared.

Results: At baseline, 93% of homes reported having at least 1 unlocked gun in the home, and 89% reported unlocked ammunition. At 12 months, 35% of homes in the early group reported unlocked guns compared with 89% in the late group (P < .001). Thirty-six percent of the early homes reported unlocked ammunition compared with 84% of late homes (P < .001). The prevalence of these storage practices was maintained at 18 months. Observations of unlocked guns decreased significantly (from 20% to 8%) between groups (P < .03).

Conclusions: Gun cabinet installation in rural Alaskan households improved the storage of guns and ammunition. If these gains are sustained over time, it may lead to a reduction in gun-related injuries and deaths in this population.

Trial registration: NCT00643812.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alaska
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Household Articles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Housekeeping / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ownership / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult

Associated data