Americans keep guns unlocked, study finds

A new study out of JAMA Network Open has found that 58% of gun owners in the U.S. store at least one firearm unlocked and hidden, while 18% store at least one firearm unlocked and unhidden. Gun safes are the most common locking device used by gun owners, with 50% of respondents who do not lock their firearms citing that locks are unnecessary. On the other hand, 44% said that locks would prevent quick access in an emergency.

The findings suggest that in order to increase the use of secure storage among firearm owners, access to safes must be increased, fears of quick access in emergencies must be assuaged, and the risks of unlocked firearms must be made clear. In the U.S., there are more guns than people according to the Small Arms Survey, and gun ownership soared to record levels during the pandemic. It is no surprise, then, that gun violence has increased in the U.S. with 79% of all homicides and 53% of all suicides involving firearms in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It is clear that the U.S. must take action to reduce the levels of gun violence in the country, and secure storage of firearms is an important part of the solution.


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