Alcohol Misuse Raises Risk of Unsafe Firearm Storage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Pondering a firearm" by Dan Foy is licensed under CC BY 2.0Erin Morgan
PhD Student | Department of Epidemiology
University of Washington

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Going into this study we were interested in looking at youth exposure to unsafely stored firearms. Unsafely stored firearms in the household, especially those that are stored unlocked, are a known risk factor for adolescent suicide. We were also interested in looking into a population of children and teens who are at particularly heightened risk for suicide and unintentional injury—those living with an adult who misuses alcohol.

Overall, we found that about 30% of those under the age of 18 live in a firearm owning home and among those youth, around 55% lived with a firearm stored in a way other than locked and unloaded. Among those in firearm owning household, we also found that when compared to youth living with a survey respondent that did not report alcohol misuse, those living with an adult that did misuse alcohol were 20% more likely to reside in a home where the firearm was stored unsafely; children were 27% more likely to live in a home reporting unlocked storage, specifically. Continue reading

Twice as Many Pediatric Firearms Deaths in States With Lax Gun Laws

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jordan Stephen Taylor MD POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW PEDIATRIC SURGERY Stanford

Dr. Taylor

Jordan Stephen Taylor MD
POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW
PEDIATRIC SURGERY
Stanford

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Firearms are the second leading cause of death in pediatric patients (ages 1-19). Firearms cause more deaths in this population that cancer or heart disease combined. Our study examined the relationship between state firearm legislation (using the Brady Scorecard and Child Access Prevention (CAP) score) and pediatric firearm mortality. We also examined other state-level factors such as poverty levels, unemployment rate, and high school completion rates. There were several significant findings:

  1. Overall pediatric firearm mortality was inversely correlated with the stringency of state firearm legislation. States with the most stringent firearm legislation had pediatric firearm rates half that of states with more lenient firearm legislation (2.56 deaths per 100,00 children vs 5.00 deaths per 100,000 children. This correlation remained significant even after accounting for other state-level socioeconomic factors.
  2. Pediatric firearm suicide rates were significantly lower in states that had laws specifically designed to prevent children from accessing firearms, including laws that mandate safe storage practices or locks. States with strong CAP laws had rates of pediatric firearm suicides that were four times less than states without such laws. This correlation, as well, remained significant even after accounting for socioeconomic factors.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Pediatric firearm death is a major public health issue. There is a clear discrepancy in where these deaths are occurring. We found that state’s with more lenient laws are having their children die at an alarmingly greater rates. While federal legislation on firearms remains controversial and gridlocked, we found that state legislation could play an important role in preventing pediatric firearm deaths, particularly through passage of child access prevention laws. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Research like this is important to demonstrate to lawmakers and the public that gun legislation can save lives. Currently, only 27 states in the US have any form of Child Access Protection laws. Passing Child Access Prevention laws in the remaining 23 states would be a great starting point for using research like this.

We have no disclosures. 

Citation:

Abstract Title: Strict firearm legislation is associated with lower firearm-related fatalities among children and teens in the United States

Jordan Taylor, MD; Sriram Madhavan, MS; Stephanie Chao, MD
Stanford, CA

[last-modified]

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Severity of Firearm Injuries Escalates Over Ten Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yi Zuo Lead Biostatistician  Center for Clinical Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology Department of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 02118

Yi Zuo

Yi Zuo
Lead Biostatistician
Center for Clinical Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research
Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology
Department of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA 02118 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Non-fatal firearm injuries constitute approximately 70% of all firearm trauma injuries in the United States. However, patterns of severity of those injuries are poorly understood.
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3 Million Americans Carry a Loaded Gun Daily

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Me holding USP gun” by Nghị Trần is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, MD, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The impact of firearm carrying on public health and public safety is a topic of considerable interest in the US.  Nonetheless, contemporary national data on some of the most fundamental questions about the scope of firearm carrying among adults in the US do not exist. We used data collected through a nationally representative survey designed by investigators at Harvard University and Northeastern University and conducted in 2015 to understand why, how frequently, or in what manner (i.e., concealed or openly) US adults carry loaded handguns on their person. We also examined the prevalence of handgun carrying among this group by the stringency of state laws regulating concealed carry permits.
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Requiring Some Firearms To Be Surrendered May Reduce Domestic Homicides

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Michael Siegel, MD, MPH Department of Community Health Sciences Boston University School of Public Health Boston, MA 02118

Dr. Siegel

Professor Michael Siegel, MD, MPH
Department of Community Health Sciences
Boston University School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02118

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Each year, more than 1,800 people in the U.S. are killed by their intimate partners. Approximately half of these homicides are committed using firearms. While federal law prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms, there is no requirement that they surrender guns already in their possession.

To close this loophole, several states have enacted laws that not only prohibit gun possession by people subject to restraining orders, but which also explicitly require that they relinquish weapons that they already have. If you are unclear as to the laws of your state, then you should contact a local law firm, such as this nyc lawyer, to discuss your current circumstances.

In this study, we investigated the impact of state domestic violence-related firearm laws and rates of intimate partner homicide, using data from all 50 states over a 25-year period, 1991-2015.

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Gunshot Injuries Cost US Taxpayers Billions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sarabeth Spitzer

MD Candidate | MS2
Stanford University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: While firearm homicides make headlines, they cause many more injuries than deaths.[1] No one had performed any recent analysis on the costs of hospitalizations for firearm-related injuries. Stanford is a Level One trauma center, and we care for patients injured by firearms. We wanted to know how much it costs the health system to treat these patients.

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Adverse Life Experiences are a Major Risk Factor for Youth Firearm Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven A. Sumner, MD, MSc Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention Atlanta GA

Dr. Steven A. Sumner

Steven A. Sumner, MD, MSc
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention
Atlanta GA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In 2014, CDC was invited to Wilmington, Delaware, to conduct a study because the city had been experiencing a high level of homicides and shootings. Our investigation looked at multiple risk factors for youth violence involvement across a wide variety of areas of young people’s lives. For example, youth who had previously experienced a gunshot wound injury were 11 times more likely to later commit a gun crime than youth who had not been similarly injured. Study investigators looked at histories of violence victimization, educational problems, unemployment histories, child welfare experiences, and prior criminal involvement. The more adverse life experiences a young person had, the more likely they were to commit firearm violence.

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Reducing Access to Guns Key to Reducing Successful Suicide Attempts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

J. John Mann MD Paul Janssen Professor of Translational Neuroscience Director, Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division Department of Psychiatry Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institut

Dr. Mann

J. John Mann MD
Paul Janssen Professor of Translational Neuroscience
Director, Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division
Department of Psychiatry
Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In 2014 there were 21,000 firearm suicides in the USA. Overseas, programs that have resulted in major reductions in firearm availability have reduced firearm suicide rates which have also been shown in the USA to be closely correlated with risk of firearm suicide. Reducing access to firearms to those at risk for suicide would help reduce firearm suicide rates in the USA. Most such suicides involve a firearm purchased many years earlier. We recommend methods for reducing such access including improved gun safety and smart gun technology.

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Unlike Car Accidents, Gun Injuries Are Becoming More Lethal

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Angela Sauaia MD PhD Professor of Public Health, Medicine, and Surger University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Angela Sauaia

Angela Sauaia MD PhD
Professor of Public Health, Medicine, and Surgery
University of Colorado Denver

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Authors: Americans mourn firearm related fatalities every day. Mass shootings are just the tip of the iceberg of the daily tragedy witnessed by trauma surgeons in emergency rooms. Industries strive to reduce the perils associated with motor vehicles, pedestrian and bicycles accidents, just to cite a few, through technology and education. Firearms move in the exact opposite direction. They are becoming progressively more dangerous and we have done little in terms of education to prevent accidents. The same trend is true for monitoring statistics. It is not difficult to obtain statistics on which type of car was associated with more accidents or fatalities. Conversely, trying to obtain data on which type of firearms are more likely to result in accidents or death is extremely difficult. We used the best data we could find and found that, contrary to every other injury mechanism, firearm injuries are becoming more lethal. In simple words, if you get into a car accident today, you are more likely to survive it due to improvements in trauma care and safety of vehicles than 10 years ago. On the other hand, if you get shot today, you are more likely to die than if you were shot 10 years ago, despite our excellent trauma care.

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Many At-Risk Adolescents Have Access To Firearms In Home

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joseph A Simonetti, MD MPH

Research Fellow
Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center
University of Washington Seattle, WA, USA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Simonetti: Studies have consistently shown that children living in households where firearms are stored safely have a lower risk of suffering firearm injuries, including lethal firearm injuries, compared to those living in households where firearms are stored unlocked and/or loaded. Safe firearm storage is widely recommended by public health experts, professional medical societies, and gun rights organizations, especially for households where children might be suffering from mental heath and substance abuse issues that put them at increased risk for suicide or unintentional injury. Our goal was to find out if those recommendations were being effectively implemented in the community. To do this, we used survey data that assessed mental health conditions and firearm access among a nationally representative sample of US adolescents.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Simonetti: First, we confirmed previous findings that a large proportion of US adolescents have access to a firearm in the home. Of those who reported living in a home with a firearm, 40% said they could immediately access and shoot the firearm.

Second, the prevalence of most mental health diagnoses was similar between adolescents who did and did not report firearm access. However, a greater proportion of adolescents with firearm access had drug and alcohol disorders compared to adolescents who reported living in a home with a firearm but did not have access to the firearm.

The main finding was that children with mental health risk factors for suicide were just as likely to report in-home firearm access as those without identified risk factors. This finding held true even when comparing firearm access between children with no identified risk factors and those who reported a recent suicide attempt, who arguably have the highest suicide risk in this sample.
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