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Formal firearm training among adults in the USA: results of a national survey
  1. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar1,2,
  2. Vivian H Lyons1,2,
  3. Joseph A Simonetti3,4,
  4. Deborah Azrael5,6,
  5. Matthew Miller6,7,8
  1. 1 Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2 Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  3. 3 Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA
  4. 4 Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, Denver, Colorado, USA
  5. 5 Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  6. 6 Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  7. 7 Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  8. 8 Department of Health Sciences, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Box 357236, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; rowhani{at}uw.edu

Abstract

Despite broad support for policies requiring that prospective firearm owners receive training before acquiring a firearm, little is known about the scope and content of firearm training in the USA. Nationally representative surveys conducted in 1994 estimated that 56%-58% of the US firearm owners had received formal firearm training. We conducted a nationally representative survey in 2015 (n=3932; completion proportion=55%) to update those estimates and characterise training contents. 61% of firearm owners and 14% of non-owners living with a firearm owner reported having received formal firearm training. The most commonly reported combination of training topics was safe handling, safe storage and preventing accidents. 15% of firearm owners reported that their training included information about suicide prevention. The proportion of the US firearm owners with formal firearm training has not meaningfully changed since two decades ago. Training programme contents vary widely. Efforts to standardise and evaluate the effectiveness of firearm training are warranted.

  • Firearm
  • Surveys
  • Training
  • Suicide/Self?Harm
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Footnotes

  • Contributors ARR, DA and MM contributed to the study concept and design. DA and MM led the acquisition of data. All authors contributed to the interpretation of data. ARR drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to the critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content. VHL led the statistical analyses. DA and MM obtained funding. JAS, DA and MM contributed to the administrative, technical or material support. ARR, DA and MM contributed to the study supervision.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Fund for a Safer Future and the Joyce Foundation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The Northeastern University Institutional Review Board, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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