Background/purpose: Increased morbidity and mortality rates in children injured by firearms has been well documented during this past decade. The aim of this study was to determine the socioeconomic factors affecting firearm ownership in families with children living in suburban/rural versus inner-city environments, and to identify predictors of firearm ownership in these families.
Methods: Parents of children less than 19 years old seen in a suburban (n = 751) or inner-city hospital (n = 406) anonymously completed a questionnaire regarding firearm ownership.
Results: Firearm ownership was 54% in rural locations, versus 18% among inner-city residents (P< .05). Firearm ownership in white households was 45% versus 20% in African-American households (P< .05). Mean number of all types of firearms in white households was 3.38 versus 1.78 in black households (P< .001). Firearm ownership was 19% in the less than $20,000 income bracket, significantly lower than households with greater incomes, and was significantly lower in households in which parents had the least education (19.7%) versus those with college degrees (38.5%; P< .05). Firearm owners of rifles and shotguns significantly more often cited hunting, collection, and target shooting as reasons for owning firearms, in contrast to revolver owners who cited protection and collection as reasons for firearm ownership (P < .05).
Conclusions: Firearm ownership is higher in rural, caucasian versus inner-city African-American residents and is significantly less in households with lower income and educational levels. Significant predictors for firearm ownership were number of parents in households, educational level of parents, and population of residence.