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Could locking all household guns reduce youth suicides, unintentional firearm deaths?

May 13, 2019

Bottom Line: 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.

Authors: Michael C. Monuteaux, Sc.D., of Boston Children's Hospital, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1078)

Editor's Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
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JAMA Pediatrics

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