Prevalence and Correlates of Firearm Ownership in the Homes of Fifth Graders: Birmingham, AL, Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA

Health Educ Behav. 2014 Jun;41(3):299-306. doi: 10.1177/1090198113512126. Epub 2014 Jan 13.


Firearms in the home are associated with increased injury risk, especially when loaded and unlocked. In this study, 5,010 fifth-graders and their caregivers in three U.S. metropolitan areas participated in the 2004-2006 Healthy Passages study on adolescent health. Firearm ownership and storage patterns were examined by four self-reported sociodemographic characteristics (child's race/ethnicity, child's gender, family socioeconomic status, and study site) and reasons for ownership. Eighteen percent (n = 880) of the families reported firearms in the home. Families with African American and Hispanic children had lower odds of owning firearms than families with non-Hispanic White children. The most common reasons for ownership were protection from crime and hunting. Six percent (n = 56) of the families with firearms stored at least one firearm unlocked, assembled, without a trigger lock, and with unlocked ammunition. Compared with families with non-Hispanic White children, families with African American children engaged in safer storage practices. Results can inform childhood firearm injury prevention activities.

Keywords: firearms; guns; injury; safety.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alabama
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Male
  • Ownership*
  • Prevalence
  • Texas