(courtesy jhsph.edu)
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Press release:

More than half of gun owners do not safely store all their guns, according to a new survey of 1,444 U.S. gun owners conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The survey, believed to be the first nationally representative sample in 15 years to examine gun storage practices in U.S. households, found that 54 percent of gun owners reported not storing all their guns safely. The internet-based survey was fielded by the survey research firm GfK Knowledge Networks between March 15 and April 13, 2016.

The survey defined safe storage as all guns stored in a locked gun safe, cabinet or case, locked into a gun rack or stored with a trigger lock or other lock. This definition is based on research showing these practices reduce the risk of unauthorized access or use.

“Household gun ownership can increase the risk of homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings in the home, but practicing safe storage for all guns reduces these risks,” says lead study author Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “The survey findings indicate a real public health emergency. More than half of gun owners in the U.S. are not storing all of their guns safely—in a locked gun safe, cabinet or case, locked into a gun rack, or secured with a trigger lock.”

The survey also found that children under the age of 18 were present in approximately one-third, or 34 percent, of the homes. Gun owners were 44 percent more likely to report safely storing all their firearms if they have a child under the age of 18 in the home: Slightly more than half, or 55 percent, of gun owners with children under 18 reported storing all of their guns safely.

Respondents were also asked about factors that influenced their gun storage practices. Concerns about home defense was selected by 43 percent, a gun safety training course by 35 percent, and family discussions by 30 percent.

In 2016, the most recent year of complete data, there were 1,637 firearm deaths among children under the age of 18; 39 percent of these deaths were the result of suicide. States with child access prevention laws that require gun owners to ensure children do not gain unauthorized access to their firearms report fewer firearm suicides among adolescents. Studies have also shown a decreased risk for self-inflicted injury among adolescents when guns are stored safely.

This new research finds that gun owners who reported a gun safety training course influenced their gun storage practices were twice as likely to practice safe storage for all their guns, and gun owners who cited discussions with family members as influencing their decisions were 39 percent more likely to practice safe storage.

“It’s encouraging to see the positive associations between safety training and reporting safe storage practices,” said study co-author Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “Requiring gun purchasers to take safety training classes, as a handful of states already do, might lead to more gun owners storing their guns safely.”

The survey also found that gun owners who reported that their storage decisions were influenced by concerns about home defense were 30 percent less likely to practice safe storage for all their firearms.

“Many bring guns into their homes for self-defense, but unsecured guns can lead to unintentional shootings, suicides, and tragic cases of troubled teens using guns to commit acts of violence,” said Crifasi.  “Communicating with gun owners about the importance of safe storage is a challenging opportunity. If we are successful at improving storage practices among gun owners, particularly those with children in the home, we could reduce risks for gun violence and injury.”

The survey also asked gun owners which groups could best communicate information about safe storage practices: 77 percent of respondents selected law enforcement as good messengers to teach gun owners about safe storage, followed by hunting/outdoor organizations (73 percent), active duty military (73 percent), military veterans (72 percent), and the NRA (71 percent). Physicians and celebrities scored lowest (19 percent and 11 percent, respectively).

“Storage Practices of U.S. Gun Owners” was written by Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, Mitchell L. Doucette, MPH, Emma E. McGinty, PhD, MPH, Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, and Colleen Barry, PhD, MPH.

Funding for the research came from grants to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research from the Simmons Foundation.

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  1. This depends on what you need and who’s in the home. If it’s just a firearm for home defense, and you have no kids in the home, then the locked front door should be sufficient. As for me, all my firearms are in locked safes. NO ONE included me in this survey.

    • Yeah, I am one of those people: the kids are grown and moved away, there are no grandchildren, and no unauthorized visitors in my home. Although stored in various areas, I can affirmatively state that none are “safely stored.” Then again, most of them are not loaded either.

    • I consider theft a far greater risk than the need for home defense, but I don’t live in a ghetto or have any overt displays of wealth.

      If the guns are stolen I will lose my license. If I use them for home defence losing my license will be least that will happen to me.

      Mine are all locked in a safe except for those being taken to the range.

      Protect your guns and protect your sport (SSAA).

      • Lose what license? Are you in the U.S.? Many people in the U.S. use guns in self-defense without being penalized in any way.

        ETA: Ah, looked up SSAA. Australia. Well, this subject doesn’t really concern you. Your country already stole your rights.

      • You are “more at risk for theft” if you are dumb enough in 2017 or 2018 to tell a phone surveyor you have a gun in your home. Caller ID is easily spoofed, and even if it is legit, the database of responses by phone number are likely more hackable than lots of database that can be hacked. Worse yet would be telling a door knocking interviewer since credentials can be easily faked as well.

    • No kids in the home? I would trust my 17 year old daughter before many so called adults. She has been trained to handle all firearms safely and definitely knows how to shoot. I trained her and my wife (I’m a police firearms instructor). My wife is a ccw permit holder and we never go anywhere w/o our firearms. I keep most of my firearms in vaults, but you better believe we keep weapons readily available at all times. I forget the statistic, but home intrusion robberies happen way to often for us not to be prepared. Please tell me how folks can defend themselves if the weapons are locked up. Are we gonna ask the robber (or worse) to please wait while we go unlock our firearms. I know some anti gun states have laws about keeping all firearms locked up (I moved from one of them, Kalifornia). You simply can’t properly defend yourself without a readily obtainable firearm unless you are an expert in the martial arts, and I’m not.

  2. Huh. How did safe storage work out in Newtown?

    I was under the impression even some of the anti’s thought that self defense was a viable reason to have a gun? Kind of defeats the purpose to have a gun for self defense that is “safely” (whose definition is that?) stored.

    No surprise, guns bad, people who own guns stupid, ban the guns, turn owners into criminals with more laws. Yawn.

    • Pretty darned well, since nobody was killed.

      Pics or it didn’t happen.

      No pics? No bodies? No footage of even a single soul evacuating from the Warehou…er, school?

      These are called clues.

      That, and it doesn’t cost $50 million to build an elementary school.

      Means, motive, and opportunity. Who had all three? Hmmm, wouldn’t have been Obama and his ole pal Eric “The Cock” Holder, would it have?

      But yes, cognitive dissonance is a powerful drug.

      Same thing with Osama. Pics, DNA, or better yet, a finger.

      No, the word of a seditious Manchurian Candidate is not good enough. In the real world of adults, we require something called “proof.” For all else, there’s the land of make-believe.

      (Medical editorial: Osama Bin Laden died in 2002 at the very latest from end-stage renal failure. His prognosis, even with dialysis sessions, was 6-months TOPS in 2001 when he was visited by his CIA handler.)

      • I smoked pot with Johnny Hopkins (he was always pinching on bags)…AND Sloan Kettering! I didn’t even know Ferris’ girl smoked that shit!!!

  3. It is no ones business how Americans do or do not store their guns,decorate their homes,feed their pets or have for dinner,I know that drives Communist/Nanny statist’s insane however it is the case.

  4. My guns are very safe.

    They have never been injured or injured anyone else.

    They don’t drink or do drugs.

    How many people store the booze in a safe.








  6. have a problem with defining children, or at least, those susceptible to stumbling on an unsecured firearm and fumbling with it and shooting their faces off, to “under 18”. if you can’t figure out as a teenager where the dangerous end is then there really is no hope for humanity. If they weren’t trying to skew the numbers they would have lowered the parameters of that stat to “under 12”. Second -safe storage does not have much value if everyone in the home is an adult familiar with the firearms in question…the lock on the front door of the home is the “safe”. Also how is a non-body ailment the purview of a group concerned with public health? I don’t see how doctors can pontificate about the misuse of a mechanical tool that ejects metal bits at high speed. The guns do what they are supposed to do. They need to stay in their lane here. If they spent as much time on trying to get the weirdo soccer mommies in CA to vaccinate their kids as they do on this stuff then maybe we won’t have another measles outbreak. Big picture here guys. STAY IN YOUR LANE.

    • A. Death is a physical ailment.
      B. These are not physicians. They are PhDs in Public Health, i.e., essentially statisticians who are paid to study anything that impacts public health. My father in law was a dean of the School of Public Health long before Bloomberg donated $1 Billion to have the school named after himself and do his anti-gun bidding. He traveled all over the world doing public health surveys, surveys that are intended as a means of assessing and addressing public health concerns or crises.
      C. Suicide and its causes are a legitimate area of inquiry for public health scientists. As is measles, polio, filthy water and bad hygienic practices (common in undeveloped countries). Thus, including teenagers who might kill themselves with an unsecured firearm is something they can legitimately comment on (as opposed to negligent discharges).
      HOWEVER, ti conclude that there is some health care crisis when 639 children commit suicide with guns in a country of 335 million with over 40,000 suicides a year (i.e., about 1.5% of all suicides) is stretching it . A lot.

      • “C. Suicide and its causes are a legitimate area of inquiry for public health scientists.”

        your suicide as an example falls down when you consider the root cause of the suicide is not the gun any more than a closed garage and a running engine is. you basically said (I think) that since guns cause suicides it is a legit area of research. guns cause suicides, really? forgive me if I misunderstood you. if public health is best served by stopping mental illness then yeah, have at it. I suppose my anger is with legitimate medical doctors jumping on the “gun control as a public health issue” thing. To me it is WAY beyond their mandate as health care professionals. figure out what ails the human body and mind…your mandate ends at researching or banning tools and other things humans create to help them achieve a task.

      • They are PhDs in Public Health, i.e., essentially statisticians who are paid to study anything that impacts public health. ….
        C. Suicide and its causes are a legitimate area of inquiry for public health scientists.

        Except that none of the PhD in this study, or employed by Bloomberg’s John Hopkins center are expert in suicide and coroner/medical examiner practice and methodology per se. Not one.

        ALL the studies by PhD’s in that area looking at coroners’ practices show that gun suicide is not undercounted, but all other means of suicide are vastly undercounted. That is the broad consensus of peer reviewed science: present a self caused death by gunshot and coroner is going to presume suicide intent and rule as such. Any other form of self caused death associated with suicide (self poisoning, falls from buildings, falls from heights, fals into subway or train tracks, drowning from a beach at night, overdose, ingle passenger vehicle into an abutment, etc etc) is going to start with presumption of accident and the peer reviews science says, in western coutnries, from 30% to 70% of suicides by non gun means will be ruled accident or undetermined.

        All the above non-gun methods of self caused death shot straight up immediately and broadly in Australia with almost none of them ruled suicide, leaving the only explanation, that overnight, exactly when broad gun confiscation occurred, a broad swath of Australia suddenly became lethally clumsy. Hmmmm

        Just go to google scholar and look up actual studies by actual suicide experts with keywords “suicide misclassification, “suicide under-count.”

        Gun don’t cause any suicides whatsoever.

  7. All guns stored in a safe except for the two I am carrying. Those two go everywhere with me. Thanks for your concern.

    • “This definition is based on research showing these practices reduce the risk of unauthorized access or use.”
      We didn’t need research to make this known to us. Like the comment above, my guns are locked away save only the ones I take with me daily – not because I’m concerned about my offspring but because I want to inconvenience and/or annoy any burglars.
      But I assume those guns attached to me wouldn’t be considered “secured” to a bigot who hates the idea of a loaded gun in the hands of anyone who isn’t in the employ of the government.

      • Interesting that you should say that. San Francisco has an ordinance that requires all firearms not ON your person be unloaded and safely secured. Even if you live alone. (Ordinance upheld by the Ninth Circus, cert denied.)

  8. A locked gun is an inaccessible gun. No kids, just wife and I. Some guns are loaded and in easy reach. Others are locked in the cabinet with the key stored in the lock. If kids were in the house, I would rethink my strategy. If other’s kids were in my house, guns would be secured or on my person.

    Their study is flawed (imagine that). I also was not asked…

  9. Unintentional or deliberate, the language in this statement serves to further the “gun-as-talisman-with-its-own-agency” notion. This is in line with the Public Health model of gun control that treats guns themselves as direct causative factors:
    – “Household gun ownership can increase the risk of…”
    – “…unsecured guns can lead to …”

    It may be valuable to examine the methodology of this study – in particular what was defined as “storage” and if home carry was counted as “not storing the firearm securely”

    It’s encouraging, however, to see that gun owners are reluctant to tolerate their healthcare providers exploiting their authority and the clinical interaction to lecture and propagandize them against exercising their right.

    Arthur Z Przebinda, MD
    Project Director
    Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

  10. Gotta love surveys where barely a thousandth of a percent of gun owners are allowed to speak for all of us.

    That aside, my wife and I both have a “night stand” gun that is never locked up.

    The rest of the guns are in the safe, but that remains unlocked unless we have house guests.

    Otherwise, if someone chooses to break in, they have an alarm system and 3 dogs to deal with before they can look around for the guns.

  11. bloomberg…all you need to know…

    he was chairman of the board at johns hopkins university

    biggest anti gun mayor ever

    probably influenced the study

    fake news

  12. If you don’t have kids in the house, having firearms not secured is equal to having them locked up in most safes, aka residential security cabinets. Any sawzall or portaband will cut right through them like slicing bread.

  13. I grew up with my father leaving a loaded handgun on his night table and an unlocked wood gun cabinet with the guns in the top and ammo on the bottom. Now I’m not advocating everyone do this but I survived and somehow didn’t shoot up a school or myself. Perhaps it was shooting and hunting with the firearms from a young age that took away the mystery. And I’m betting that my dad grew up like this also. What has changed in our society?

  14. So, is ‘naming the Bloomberg’ considered bad form? Because he shows up in every one of these stupid things.

  15. …who the f?ck would answer this survey anyway?!

    And to tell someone on the phone:
    a – yes, I have firearms in the house
    b – no, I don’t store them safely

    This reeks of stupidity on the highest level, just from the possibility of being cased for a robbery.

    The answers should have been:
    a – none of your business
    b – if I do have firearms, yes they are store safely…including the one on my hip

    • Bingo ! , the only reasonable answer to something that is No ones business in the first place.

  16. Not surprisingly, the fix is in on that study. Obviously the one on my hip is not trigger locked inside my gun safe, that is inside of a dead bolt locked room, submerged in a pool of water circled by sharks with laser beams, so I am bad. very very bad.

  17. Another fake “study” with a conclusion written before it was done. Completely paid for by Bloomberg money. Can you name for me one report out of Johns Hopkins which had a conclusion which was pro gunowner or even somewhat equivocal? No, they’re 100 % negative, unlike any other medical study you have ever read. When evaluating the effects of a new drug or therapy, there is always a weighing of risks and benefits but never on this or any firearm related issue.

  18. I love how easily they spew out government mandates that would force people to go take training. These people are what I call petty tyrants.

  19. They’d be terrified if they went through my house, and they can eat crow about it.

  20. Just like the Pharma industry. First the ads alerting the public to “restless leg syndrome” or some obscure yet dire “public health emergency”. Then along comes the drug, or in this case the “solution”.

  21. Children are in more danger from unsecured prescription drugs than from guns. They are definitely in more danger from unsecured socialists. The government has no business in knowing whether or not I have a firearm let alone how I choose, in my circumstance, to store it. Opening that Pandora’s box, the government could regulate absolutely everything in and around your home and workplace. The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the argument that the government must protect you from yourself, is that everyone needs to be locked up in high security prisons. Oh wait, even that has proven ineffective.

    • The police (i.e. the government) has no legal duty to protect you; yet at the same time the Government thinks it has the Right and Duty to protect you from yourself. How does that work?

      • The simple answer is that Government’s duty is to protect itselffrom you.

  22. My cars are far more dangerous than my firearms and its stored in the driveway…sometimes unlocked.

    …just say’n

  23. How accurate can an “internet-based survey” actually be? Just because they say they are gun owners doesn’t mean they are. I’m pretty active online and didn’t see any “internet based survey” links. Safe storage is a subjective thing, if my kids are trained adults and there are no children, safe storage could mean locked in my house when I’m gone, or my car. Yet another worthless survey trying to prove that gun owners are irresponsible. What gun owner in their right mind would take this survey?


  24. The survey headline reads, “More than half of U.S. Gun Owners Don’t Safely Store Their Guns.”

    Let’s see about that. About 100 million (give or take) people in the U.S. own firearms. The CDC reports less than 500 accidental deaths from firearms in any given year. And since the survival rate for gunshot victims is about 80%, another 2,000 people sustained unintentional gunshot wounds and survived. So, the grand total of people who are accidentally wounded or die from gunshot wounds every year is about 2,500 people. HOWEVER, many of them are from negligent handling, NOT negligent storage. Let’s be generous and say that half of those victims are a result of negligent storage. Therefore, on the order of 1,250 people suffer gunshot wounds (some fatal, some survivable) every year from negligent storage. Since the remaining 99,998,750 firearms owners did not contribute to a gunshot wound from negligent storage, I am going to say that well over 99.99% of firearms owners store their firearms safely.

    Of course the survey has a different objective definition which should be no surprise. My simple response: the proof is in the pudding. If more than 50% of firearms owners did not store their firearms safely, we should see several million gunshot wounds because of negligent storage. Since we do not see several million gunshot wounds annually because of negligent storage, we cannot claim that more than 50% of firearms owners fail to store their firearms safely.

    • Actually we probably can, based on the survey data and their “definitions” say that somewhere around 50% of people don’t store their firearm safely according to the definition of safety laid out in this survey.

      You’re confusing correlation for causation (really, so are they so that’s totally fair).

      Here’s a decent example: NHTSA numbers suggest, based on surveys with much better controls, that 8%-11% of Americans have gotten behind the wheeling knowing that they were legally drunk in the past year. That’s 25,840,000-35,530,000 individual people who knowingly drove drunk in the past year. The number of people who broke the legal limit is SURELY higher. Much, much higher. But hey, at least we have a baseline to start with here.

      Now, in 2015 there were 10,265 people killed in crashes that involved alcohol. That’s .004% of the low estimate on incidents of drunk driving and .0029% of the higher estimate. It works out to like .32 deaths per million people.

      But drunk driving is SUPER dangerous right? I mean, so dangerous that when we catch people doing it we completely ruin their lives in the vast majority cases when they haven’t actually harmed anyone. We say that it’s only a matter of time until they kill someone… Yeah, well, check the stats brother. They’re actually statistically likely to get away with driving legally drunk nearly every day of their lives without an incident so it can’t really be honestly said to be that unsafe. (Note: I am not condoning nor supporting drunk driving, merely pointing out the statistical facts here.)

      Just because someone says an activity is “dangerous” doesn’t actually mean that it causes massive amounts of carnage. Leaving a gun “unsafely stored” is something the vast majority of people probably just “get away with” because nothing goes wrong. Statistically it’s probably in the ballpark of drunk driving, 99%+ chance nothing goes wrong…

      • My point was very simple: about 0.0025% of firearm owners’ stored firearms in a way that was directly responsible for an unintentional gunshot wound (both non-fatal and fatal).

        Obviously, those 100 million firearm owners have countless storage strategies. Whatever the storage strategies are involved, they are inherently safe. Whether that means keeping firearms locked in a vault, hidden behind drywall, in a holster on someone’s hip, or laying loaded on the table after truly teaching children to leave them alone, it works.

  25. I’d have to really dig into this to come to a real conclusion about how valid it is but on the face of it I have serious questions.

    There are simply way, way too many variables here and most of them are not going to be “known” to researchers because those researchers most likely know just about fuck all about guns.

    For example, is it “safely stored” if it’s not in a safe, cabinet, locked or whatever but there is no ammo in the house for that particular firearm? I mean, say someone had some old collectors grade .416 Rigby elephant gun from back in the day and it was displayed on a wall but every other gun in the house was stored in a gun safe AND they possessed exactly 0 rounds of .416 Rigby for the rifle that was on display. Would this survey consider that person to be engaged in safely storing everything? Probably not. However, the real question is are the researchers even well enough informed to take a crack at making that call? Again, probably not.

  26. It would be nice to see the actual questions asked and the breakdown of responses instead of their conclusions on these stupid surveys.

  27. My guns are in EZ reach. If I or my wife leave I have one and the rest are in a highly secure area. I don’t participate in ranDUMB surveys. DUH…

  28. I reject the hypothesis that 1444 gun owners are a representative sample of US gun owners. The mere idea is dumb as a box of rocks!

    Is statistics taught in the “Schools” that these “journalists” attended? I doubt it!


  29. #fakenews

    I’ve defined any survey that doesn’t contain at least 50% TTAG commentariat as fake news. Bloomie’s bots should stop lying. (Can we get Snopes in on this?)

  30. A non-issue. No wife, no kids, and no one in the house but me and the cat, and I don’t think the cat is going to accidentally blow one of her paws off.

  31. This is the game they play. Define the terms, you define the outcome.

    “Gun violence” — Includes any harm to anyone involving a gun, including harm to BGs in DGUs. There are no “justifiable homicides” or similar. Excludes fear, danger, and takings imposed on innocent people by BGs using guns, as long as the guns don’t go off. (There’s a reason “assault” includes the *threat* of violence.)

    “Assault Rifle / Weapon / “Military Type” firearms” — A military “assault rifle” has not been generally available in the US for decades. An “assault weapon” is a non sequitur. Weapons are for “assaulting” in the broad sense. In the narrow sense of initiating violence to remove someone or take a position, defensive arms are never used to “assault.” Even better, the “military type” features that the disarmers get so excited about don’t address the operation of the firearm, and do make a rifle a more effective defensive arm.

    And now, “Safe Storage” means, well, whatever they say it does. It’s “safe” when I say it is.

    Well, your survey is valid, when I say it is. Could be a while. Don’t make any plans.

  32. More than half of US gun owners, who know something about, and actually have guns, think Bloomie’s agitprop defintion of “safe storage” is crap.

  33. Most people leave their car keys lying around. Cars and rental trucks are pretty dangerous

  34. … conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins *********Bloomberg*********** School of Public Health.

    let me just stop you right there…

  35. “The survey defined safe storage as all guns stored in a locked gun safe, cabinet or case, locked into a gun rack or stored with a trigger lock or other lock. This definition is based on research showing these practices reduce the risk of unauthorized access or use.”

    This is why this survey is completely unusable.

  36. Counter conclusion. Even though trigger locks a provided in a large number of sales, individuals are not using them religiously. One suspects that this means that “the people” disagree with “the legislators” on the use of trigger locks. Given this, who should have more say? The people? The controllers?

  37. I have an ar15 at the ready. My wife and children know how to use it. Does that constitute “safe storage”?

  38. So the surveyors found 1,444 idiot irresponsible gun owners. So what. I’m sure that was not impossible to do. I know a LOT of gun owners and personally I don’t know anyone, myself included, who does not have their guns secured in their homes with children present. Do you? Besides, they said that 2/3 of those surveyed did NOT have children under 18 in the home. This survey is pure anti-gun BS – but the anti-gunners will give it all the traction it can get regardless.

  39. When I was an EMT in Philadelphia I saw hundreds of gunshots, including involving kids access hurting themselves or others.
    The common thread with kids and access was a criminal who owned the gun illegally.

    They are not going to be affected by education campaigns, by gun securing/safe laws.

    They will be affected by keeping them in prison LONGER.

    Per capita accidental death and by kids with guns fell with increases in incarceration rates for a reason. There are outliers that get a lot of press (woman in Walmart whose kid got hold of a gun in a purse) but the vast majority are gangbangers and criminals leaving guns around.

    No control whatsoever in this “study” for the well understood and primary risk factor of criminals in homes with kids.

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