Most American Gun Owners Keep A Weapon Unlocked, Study Finds

Most American Gun Owners Keep A Weapon Unlocked, Study Finds

Posted For: MugsMalone

by Ana Faguy

Most gun owners in America keep at least one firearm unlocked, a study out Thursday found, as some firearm owners consider gun locks a potential delay in the case of an emergency.

Key Facts

Researchers surveyed 2,000 firearm owners about how they stored their weapons for a study published in JAMA Network Open.

More than 58% of firearm owners stored at least one gun unlocked and hidden, while nearly 18% of firearms owners stored at least one firearm unlocked and unhidden, the study found.

The study found that gun safes were the locking device most commonly used among firearm owners, rather than other locking mechanisms researchers examined, like cable locks and trigger locks.

Nearly 50% of respondents who didn’t lock their firearms said locks are unnecessary, while more than 44% of respondents said that locks would prevent quick access in an emergency.

Researchers said the findings of the study suggest that increasing the use of secure storage among firearm owners may require increasing access to safes, calming fears about how quickly firearms owners could access their weapons in emergencies and elucidating the risks with unlocked firearms.

Big Number

393 million. That’s how many privately owned firearms are in circulation in the U.S., according to the Small Arms Survey.

Key Background

The U.S. has one of the highest rates of firearm ownership in the world—there are more guns than people in America, according to the Small Arms Survey. Gun ownership soared to record levels after sales spiked during the pandemic. Research has shown that access to firearms leads to increased likelihood of injury and death, a reason researchers cited for conducting Thursday’s study. Gun violence continues to surge in the U.S. with more Americans dying of gun-related injuries in 2020 than ever before, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics. Previous studies have shown that gun ownership is a risk for homicide in the home and that guns are implicated in a large number of suicides. In 2020, 79% of all homicides and 53% of all suicides involved firearms, according to the CDC. And it’s not just homicides and suicides that have seen increases, mass shootings also continue to plague the U.S. As of March 1, there have been 95 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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