To better understand motivations behind purchase and storage of firearms during the COVID-19 pandemic, we used Amazon Mechanical Turk to conduct an online survey of individuals who did and did not purchase a firearm since 1 January 2020 in response to COVID-19. The survey was fielded between 1 and 5 May 2020. We asked about motivations for purchase, changes in storage practices and concern for themselves or others due to COVID-19. There were 1105 survey respondents. Most people who purchased a firearm did so to protect themselves from people. Among respondents who had purchased a firearm in response to COVID-19 without prior household firearm ownership, 39.7% reported at least one firearm was stored unlocked. Public health efforts to improve firearm-related safety during COVID-19 should consider increasing access to training and framing messages around the concerns motivating new firearm purchase.
Keywords: descriptive epidemiology; firearm; public health.
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