Despite evidence that firearm access in the home is a strong risk factor for firearm injury, firearms are owned more often for self-protection than for any other reason. In this cross-sectional study, we describe the association between firearm ownership and perceived risk of personal firearm injury using logistic regressions applied to data from the 2018 California Safety and Well-being Survey. Most respondents (57.7%) reported being very/somewhat worried about gun violence happening to them. Compared with non-owners in households without firearms, firearm owners were 60% (adjusted OR (aOR) 0.40, 95% CI: 0.27 to 0.58) less likely to be worried about gun violence happening to them; non-owners living in homes with firearms were 46% (aOR 0.54, 95% CI: 0.33 to 0.88) less likely. This suggests an underestimation of actuarial risk that conflicts with the available evidence, with important implications for public health messaging.
- risk perception
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Correction notice The article has been corrected since it is published. The citation in the 4th paragraph in the INTRODUCTON section has been updated.
Contributors All authors contributed to the conceptualisation and design of the study. JPS carried out the analyses and drafted the manuscript. GJW and NKW contributed to the interpretation of the findings and critical revision of the manuscript. JPS had full access to the data and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and accuracy of the analyses.
Funding This research was supported by University of California Firearm Violence Research Center with funds from the State of California (no award number). Additional support came from the California Wellness Foundation (award number 2014–255), the Heising-Simons Foundation (award number 2017–0447) and the University of California, Davis, Violence Prevention Research Program (no award number).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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