Introduction Firearms account for the majority of suicide deaths in the USA. A recommended approach for suicide prevention is reducing access to firearms by temporarily removing them from the home. We sought to understand how firearm owners and those who reside with them view and might use voluntary, temporary out-of-home firearm storage.
Methods From July to November 2021, we interviewed English-speaking adults in Colorado and Washington who own firearms or reside with them, using semistructured interviews. We used a team-based mixed deductive and inductive approach to code transcripts and identify themes.
Results Half of the 38 interviewees were men (53%) aged 35–54 years (40%); 92% identified as white. The average age that participants reported first having a firearm was 20.4 years; 16% reported never owning a firearm themselves, only living in homes with firearms. Qualitative findings fell into broad themes: (1) storage with family members/friends, (2) concerns/challenges with storing a firearm with a business/organization, (3) importance of trust (4) outreach methods for out-of-home storage programmes.
Conclusion Programmes for voluntary, temporary out-of-home firearm storage will not be impactful unless such storage is desired and used. Understanding views of potential storage users can help support development of acceptable and feasible programmes.
- Public Health
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. Deidentified participant data are available upon request from LMB; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Contributors LMB: planned the study, conducted qualitative interviews, coded interviews and drafted manuscript. CEK: planned the study, conducted qualitative interviews, coded interviews and added critical revisions. MM: coded interviews and added critical revisions. AR-R: planned the study and added critical revisions. BJS-B: coded interviews and added critical revisions. MEB is the guarantor, planned the study and added critical revisions.
Funding This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Mental Health (R61MH125754), NIH/NHLBI Grant Number K23 HL153892 (Knoepke), and American Heart Association Grant Number 18CDA34110026 (Knoepke). The contents of this work are the authors’ sole responsibility and do not necessarily represent official funder views.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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