Most gun-owning homes in state do not safely store firearms

Most gun-owning homes in state do not safely store firearms

In Washington state in 2016, firearms were the leading method of suicide for men and the second leading method for women. Sixty-three percent of firearm-owning households in Washington state do not store their firearms locked and unloaded, according to research led by the University of Washington School of Public Health. In findings published today in the American Journal of Public Health , researchers characterized the differences in suicide-risk behaviors among nearly 35,000 Washington firearm-owning and non-firearm-owning households. Such behaviors included safe-storage practices in firearm-owning households, alcohol use and mental health indicators. Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, and almost half of those deaths involve a firearm. In Washington state in 2016, firearms were the leading method of suicide for men and the second-leading method for women. Numerous public health, medical, and firearm organizations across the nation define safe firearm storage as locked, unloaded, and out of reach of others. These barriers to firearm access can affect the risk for someone contemplating suicide. “Access to lethal means is part of what’s fueling suicides,” said lead author Erin Morgan, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology. “Public health workers, emergency responders and policy makers should push to tailor suicide interventions and trainings for safe storage practices with suicide risk and firearm access in mind. Temporarily restricting access to a firearm for someone at risk is an opportunity to save a life.” Morgan and her colleagues analyzed data from the Washington state 2013, 2015 and 2016 […]

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