Could Locking All Household Guns Reduce Youth Suicides, Unintentional Firearm Deaths?

Estimate of Median Deaths Prevented, Stratified by Probability of Augmented Locked Storage and Effectively Preventive Probability Median estimate across 1000 simulation repetitions of youth unintentional and suicide firearm deaths prevented in 2015, stratified by probability of augmented locked firearm storage (over empirical baseline) and effectively preventive probability (ie, probability that safe storage would prevent a death that would otherwise have occurred); values are the point estimate (0.64) and the upper and lower bounds of the 95% and 99% CIs.

An increase in the number of firearm owners who live with children who lock up all their household guns could be associated with a reduction in youth firearm deaths by suicide and unintentional injury. This modeling study of a hypothetical intervention estimates that if 20 percent of households storing at least one gun unlocked changed in one year to locking all firearms then between 72 and 135 youth firearm fatalities and between 235 and 323 youth firearm shootings (nonfatal injuries and deaths combined) may be prevented. A gun in a home can increase risk of suicide and unintentional deaths, and safe gun storage practices have been associated with reduced risk of intentional self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries. Authors of this study acknowledge their analysis relied on a single study from more than 15 years ago because they says it’s the only published study that quantifies the relationship between gun storage practices among youth and the risk of firearm injuries. Nonetheless, researchers say their results underscore the need to develop approaches that will motivate adults to safely store guns.

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