Objectives: To examine gun storage practices and factors influencing those practices among gun owners.
Methods: We conducted a nationally representative online survey of US gun owners (n = 1444) in 2016 to assess gun storage practices and attitudes, factors influencing storage practices, and groups that might effectively communicate regarding safe storage. We generated descriptive statistics by using cross-tabulations and used logistic regression to estimate characteristics that influenced safe storage practices.
Results: Forty-six percent of gun owners reported safely storing all of their guns. Factors associated with higher odds of reporting safe storage were having a child in the home (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03, 2.03), only owning handguns (AOR = 1.84; 95% CI = 1.24, 2.73), and reporting that storage decisions were influenced by a gun safety course (AOR = 2.05; 95% CI = 1.54, 2.74) or discussions with family members (AOR = 1.39; 95% CI = 1.05, 1.86). Gun owners ranked law enforcement, hunting or outdoors groups, active-duty military, and the National Rifle Association as most effective in communicating safe storage practices.
Conclusions: Public health campaigns to promote safe gun storage should consider partnering with groups that garner respect among gun owners for their experience with safe use of guns.