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038 A qualitative study on diverse sociocultural perspectives and identities of firearm owners
  1. Arielle Thomas1,2,
  2. Christopher Knoepke3,4,
  3. Bonnie Siry-Bove5,3,
  4. Leslie Barnard5,6,
  5. Marian Betz5,7
  1. 1American College of Surgeons, Chicago, USA
  2. 2Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA
  3. 3University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, USA
  4. 4Adult and Child Consortium for Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, School of Medicine, Aurora, USA
  5. 5Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Aurora, USA
  6. 6Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, USA
  7. 7VA Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Aurora, USA


Statement of Purpose Research surrounding firearm ownership is often heavily dominated by a white male perspective which may adversely affect the generalizability of many efforts surrounding firearm injury prevention. We describe the views and experiences of a diverse group of firearm owning stakeholders.

Methods/Approach Qualitative interviews were conducted with Colorado or Washington State stakeholders representing at least one group (1) firearm ranges/retailers; (2) law enforcement agencies (LEAs); and (3) relevant state or national firearm organizations. Codes were created using mixed deductive-inductive approach. A secondary analysis was used to explore ideas shared around stigma, mental health, network, trust, and cultural norms.

Results Our secondary analysis included 25 participant interviews of 95. Participants for this analysis were of different self-identified sociocultural groups including racial and ethnic minorities (African American, Hispanic, and Asian), political minorities (liberal), and sexual minorities (LGBTQ). Perspectives on firearm ownership included ideas on belonging to a social community and firearm ownership and gun culture as a part of personal identity, as an expression of full citizenship, and ownership for self-protection. The intersection of minority group identity and firearm owner identity creating a need for divergent social communities was an important subtheme. These communities serve as a safe place for individuals to participate and circumvent negative external and internal group associations with firearm ownership.

Conclusion Perspectives on firearms and firearm ownership in the secondary analysis were heterogenous and related to personal experiences, external and internal group pressures that influence individual behavior. Understanding the breadth of perspectives on firearm ownership is imperative to engaging individuals.

Significance In order to enact lasting injury prevention policies, it is important to understand the sociocultural landscape surrounding firearms and firearm ownership. This study adds to the literature by expanding an understanding of the motivation for firearm ownership and involvement in suicide prevention among diverse communities.

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