Storage Practices of US Gun Owners in 2016

Am J Public Health. 2018 Apr;108(4):532-537. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304262. Epub 2018 Feb 22.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Firearms* / statistics & numerical data
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control
  • Young Adult