Effectiveness of Interventions to Promote Safe Firearm Storage

Epidemiol Rev. 2016;38(1):111-24. doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxv006. Epub 2016 Jan 13.


Despite supportive evidence for an association between safe firearm storage and lower risk of firearm injury, the effectiveness of interventions that promote such practices remains unclear. Guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist, we conducted a systematic review of randomized and quasi-experimental controlled studies of safe firearm storage interventions using a prespecified search of 9 electronic databases with no restrictions on language, year, or location from inception through May 27, 2015. Study selection and data extraction were independently performed by 2 investigators. The Cochrane Collaboration's domain-specific tool for assessing risk of bias was used to evaluate the quality of included studies. Seven clinic- and community-based studies published in 2000-2012 using counseling with or without safety device provision met the inclusion criteria. All 3 studies that provided a safety device significantly improved firearm storage practices, while 3 of 4 studies that provided no safety device failed to show an effect. Heterogeneity of studies precluded conducting a meta-analysis. We discuss methodological considerations, gaps in the literature, and recommendations for conducting future studies. Although additional studies are needed, the totality of evidence suggests that counseling augmented by device provision can effectively encourage individuals to store their firearms safely.

Keywords: firearms; program evaluation; safety.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Firearms / standards*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Promotion / standards
  • Humans
  • Program Evaluation
  • Safety / standards
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control