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Views of voluntary, temporary out-of-home firearm storage among individuals living in a firearm-owning home: results from a qualitative study in two states

Abstract

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.

  • Firearm
  • Suicide/Self?Harm
  • Public Health

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Deidentified participant data are available upon request from LMB; leslie.barnard@ucdenver.edu.

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