Objectives: To quantify the proportion of current US gun owners who are new to owning firearms and compare new versus long-standing gun owners with respect to their firearms and firearm-related behaviors.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative probability-based online survey conducted in 2015 in the United States. We defined new gun owners as current firearm owners who acquired all of their firearms within the past 5 years, but who lived in a home without a gun at some time over the past 5 years. We defined long-standing firearm owners as all other current gun owners.
Results: New gun owners represented 10% of all current US adult gun owners. In addition to being younger than long-standing gun owners, new gun owners were more likely to be liberal, own fewer guns, own handguns, own guns only for protection, and store guns in a safe manner.
Conclusions: Gun ownership is dynamic, with approximately 1 million Americans becoming new gun owners each year. Public Health Implications. Clinical guidelines should be updated to explicitly endorse re-evaluating household firearm status at regular intervals.