Perceptions of the utility of secure firearm storage methods as a suicide prevention tool among firearm owners who currently store their firearms loaded and unlocked

Michael D. Anestis, Allison E. Bond, Jayna Moceri-Brooks, Shelby L. Bandel, Daniel Semenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Although secure firearm storage can prevent firearm injury and death, secure storage is relatively rare. This tendency may be driven in part by a perceived lack of utility for secure storage in preventing suicide and other gun violence-related outcomes. Method: We recruited a large (n = 3510) representative sample of residents from five US states and assessed the degree to which those who do and do not store their firearms securely perceive different utility in specific firearm storage practices for suicide prevention. To test for specificity, we examined if those differences hold when considering unintentional shooting and firearm theft prevention. Results: Those who currently store their firearms unsecured reported lower perceived utility in several firearm storage practices, particularly for suicide and theft prevention. Conclusions: Our findings highlight that a lack of perceived utility in secure firearm storage may partially drive unsecure firearm storage. Efforts to promote secure storage must address this misperception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • firearms
  • means safety
  • secure storage

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