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

Adolescent Gun Injuries Peak at Ages 15-17

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Me holding USP gun” by Nghị Trần is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Faiz Gani, PhD
Postdoctoral research fellow
Department of Surgery
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

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

Response: Firearm related injuries are a leading cause of injury and death in the United States, yet, due to combination of factors, limited data exist that evaluate these injuries, particularly among younger patients (patients younger than 18 years).

The objective of this study was to describe emergency department utilization for firearm related injuries and to quantitate the financial burden associated with these injuries.

In our study of over 75,000 emergency department visits, we observed that each year, over 8,300 children and adolescents present to the emergency department for the treatment / management of a gunshot injury. Within this sub-population of patients, we observed that these injuries are most frequent among patients aged 15-17 years and while these injuries decreased over time initially, were observed to increase again towards the end of the time period studied.

In addition to describing the clinical burden of these injuries, we also sought to describe the financial burden associated with these injuries. For patients discharged from the emergency department, the average (median) charge associated with their care was $2,445, while for patients admitted as inpatients for further care, the average (median) charge was $44,966.

Collectively these injuries resulted in $2.5 billion in emergency department and hospital charges over the time period studied. This translates to an annual financial burden of approximately $270 million. Continue reading

Active Shooter Incidents Involving Semi-automatic Rifles More Deadly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adil Haider, MD, MPH, FACS Kessler Director for the Center for Surgery and Public Health Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Deputy Editor of JAMA Surgery

Dr. Haider

Adil Haider, MD, MPH, FACS
Kessler Director for the Center for Surgery and Public Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Deputy Editor of JAMA Surgery

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

Response: Firearm-related mortality is a public health issue. However, in the US, due in part to lack of funding, there is not enough research to inform the debate about firearms.

The question our group sought to answer was to understand if the presence of a semi-automatic weapon increased the number of victims killed or hurt during an active shooter incident. We chose to focus on these incidents given the availability of an FBI database detailing these active shooter incidents based on a strict definition and the similarities between such incidents that make a comparison valid.

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Most Young People Not Against Guns in the Home

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“GUNS” by Jessica Spengler is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kendrin R. Sonneville, ScD, RD

Assistant Professor
Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Michigan School of Public Health

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

Response: The results from this come out of MyVoice, a text message cohort of youth ages 14-24 representing every state in the country (http://hearmyvoicenow.org/). Each week we ask the youth in our cohort a series of open-ended to questions, with the goal of gathering the real-time opinions and experiences of youth across the U.S. This study reports the results of questions we asked MyVoice paritpatns between 07/2017 and 01/2018 about guns and gun control. 

(1) What are your thoughts about having guns in your home?

(2) Do you think gun control laws would affect mass shootings? Why?

(3) Who, if anyone, should NOT be allowed to own guns?

We found that about one-third of youth in our diverse sample were “against” guns in the home, and the remaining two-thirds were either “pro” or “conditionally pro” guns in the home, stating that gun ownership is acceptable under certain conditions, such as proper storage, or kept away from children. Youth in our sample largely believed that gun control laws could decrease mass shootings, but one-third felt that gun control laws would not be enough to impact mass shootings. Continue reading

Since Semi-Automatic Rifles Outlawed, Australia Has Had Zero Mass Shootings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Simon Chapman AO PhD FASSA Hon FFPH (UK) Emeritus Professor in the School Public Health University of Sydney

Prof. Chapman

Simon Chapman AO PhD FASSA Hon FFPH (UK)
Emeritus Professor in the School Public Health
University of Sydney

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

Response: Since major gun law reforms in 1996, Australian has seen zero mass shootings (five or more deaths, not including the perpetrator).The law reforms outlawed semi-automatic rifles, those often favored by mass killers.

In the 18 years prior to the reforms, Australia experienced 13 mass shootings. The National Rifle Association and others have suggested that the 22 year absence of mass shootings may simply reflect that these events are rare and statistically unlikely to occur regardless of any policy.

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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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“Shall Issue” Gun Law States Associated With Higher Homicide and Firearm Death Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

Prof. Siegel

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

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

Response: A central question in the debate about public policies to reduce firearm violence is whether easier access to concealed handguns increases or decreases the rate of firearm-related homicides. Previous studies on the impact of concealed carry permitting laws have yielded inconsistent results. Most of these studies were conducted more than a decade ago. This study provided a reexamination of this research question with more recent data, up to and including the year 2015.

While all states allow certain persons to carry concealed handguns, there are 3 major variations in permitting policy. In 9 states, law enforcement officials have wide discretion over whether to issue concealed carry permits; these are referred to as “may issue” states because police chiefs can deny a permit if they deem the applicant to be at risk of committing violence, even if there is not a criminal history. In 29 states, there is little or no discretion; these are referred to as “shall-issue” states because permits must be issued if requisite criteria are met. In an additional 12 states, no permit is necessary to carry a concealed handgun.

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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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Regions With Strict Gun Control Laws Have Lower Rates of Pediatric Gun Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Monika Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E. Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Emergency Medicine Director of Research, Division of Emergency Medicine Attending Physician Children’s National Health System The George Washington University

Dr. Monika Goyal

Monika Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Emergency Medicine
Director of Research, Division of Emergency Medicine and Attending Physician
Children’s National Health System
The George Washington University

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

Response: As pediatric emergency clinicians, unfortunately, many of us have cared for a number of children who have been victims of gun violence. We wanted to investigate whether gun laws may make a difference in the rates of firearm-related morbidity and mortality in children. We specifically were interested in emergency department visits because they relate directly to the care we provide to pediatric patients.

Our main findings from our five-year study were that children are affected by gun violence nationally and, specifically, we saw regional differences in emergency department visits made by children who were victims of firearm violence.

Overall, firearm-related visits by patients 21 and younger to emergency departments remained consistent over time at a rate of 65 per every 100,000 visits until 2013, when they decreased slightly to 51 per 100,000 visits.

We also found that regions with more strict gun laws had lower rates of emergency department visits by children for gun violence compared with those regions with less stringent laws. We used the Brady Score, which looks at various state gun laws and assigns a score, to measure strictness. Then, based on state-level scores, we created regional composite scores.

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Majority of Americans Believes Guns Should Not Be Allowed In Public Spaces

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julia Wolfson, PhD MPP Assistant Professor Department of Health Management and Policy University of Michigan School of Public Health Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Dr. Julia Wolfson

Julia Wolfson, PhD MPP
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Management and Policy
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Response: Gun violence is a serious public health problem that in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, was responsible for more than 36,000 deaths. High profile shootings in public places such as schools, nightclubs and airports have focused national attention on the threat of gun violence in public places. Many states have recently passed new laws that expand the public places where people can legally carry guns either openly or concealed on their person.

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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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Exposure to Violence, Psychological Distress, and Gun Carrying Among Male Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joan A. Reid, Ph.D., LMHC

Assistant Professor
Criminology Program DAV 266
University of South Florida St. Petersburg

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

Response: Firearm-associated homicide and suicide are leading causes of death among American youth (i.e., 10-24 years old), with disproportionately high rates observed among male youth of color. Notably, gun violence and psychological problems are often conflated in public discourse regarding gun violence and prevention. However, few studies have assessed the impact of exposure to violence, either as a witness or a victim, when exploring the association between gun-carrying behavior and psychological distress.

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More Gun Violence in PG-13 Than R-Rated Films

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel Romer, PhD Annenberg Public Policy Center University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Daniel Romer

Daniel Romer, PhD
Annenberg Public Policy Center
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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

Response: We have been studying trends in health compromising behaviors in popular films that were released since 1950, and in 2013 we reported that films rated PG-13 had just passed the rate of portrayed gun violence shown in popular R-rated films in 2012. In this report, we updated the trends in gun violence through 2015 and found that the trend has continued. In addition, we noted the strong contribution to this trend of films with comic book heroes whose heavy use of guns omits the harmful and otherwise realistic consequences of blood and suffering.

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Research Into Gun Violence Plunged Over 15 Year Period

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ted Alcorn, MHS, MA Everytown for Gun Safety Brooklyn, New York

Ted Alcorn

Ted Alcorn, MHS, MA
Everytown for Gun Safety
Brooklyn, New York

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

Response: Two decades ago, opponents of gun violence prevention recognized that they could curb the development and enactment of effective laws if they halted scientific research on which good policy would be grounded or justified. So they adopted a strategy of intimidation towards the leading federal agencies funding research on this topic and generating data on which analysis relied. Journalists that observed the pattern and scientists that lived through it often described the “chilling effect” this had on the field of gun violence prevention research.

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Accidents, Guns and Overdoses Account For Increase in Death Rate in US Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Andrew Fenelon PhD NIH Postdoctoral Fellow Brown University

Dr. Andrew Fenelon

Dr. Andrew Fenelon PhD
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow
Brown University

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

Dr. Fenelon: The life expectancy of the US population is about 2 years less than that of other high-income nations, which is an important problem in public health. Although much previous work looks at differences in death rates among older adults, some recent work has shown that deaths at younger ages (below age 50) account for a significant fraction of the life expectancy gap. Our study examines the contribution of major injuries, Motor Vehicle Crashes, Firearm-related deaths, and drug poisonings, which often occur at younger ages and account for many years of lost life.

Our findings indicate that US men and women experience significantly higher death rates from these three causes of injury death than each of the 12 comparison high-income countries. Overall, these three causes of death explained 48% of the 2.2 year life expectancy gap between the United States and other high-income countries among men, with firearm injuries alone explaining 21%. Among women, these causes explained 19%.

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Teenagers Carry Fewer Guns In States With Stricter Gun Control Laws

Dr. Ziming Xuan ScD, SM, MA Assistant Professor, Community Health Sciences School of Public Health Boston University MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ziming Xuan ScD, SM, MA
Assistant Professor, Community Health Sciences
School of Public Health
Boston University 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Xuan: With respect to background, among the 15000 some teenagers died annually in the US, the 3 leading causes of death were unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide. Among these fatal youth injuries, 83% homicides were gun-related, and about half of suicides involved a gun (45%).

So, The purpose of the study was to investigate the association between state gun law environment and youth gun carrying in the United States, and whether this association is mediated by adult gun ownership.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Xuan:

  • Among 38 states in our study, 5.7%of high school students living in the 19 states with stricter gun laws carried a gun in past 30 days while 7.3% of students living in states with the weaker gun laws carried a gun.
  • A 10-point increase in the strictness of the state gun law score was associated with a 9% decrease in the odds of youth gun carrying.
  • Across states, restrictive gun laws may reduce youth gun carrying by limiting adult gun ownership.

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