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.
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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.