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Law enforcement officers' opinions about gun locks: anchors on life jackets?
  1. T Coyne-Beasley1,
  2. R M Johnson2
  1. 1Injury Prevention Research Center and Department of Pediatrics, Division of Community Pediatrics, Campus Box 7225, Wing C, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599–7225, USA
  2. 2Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Public Health
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Coyne-Beasley


Objectives—One way law enforcement officers support firearm safety is by promoting the use of gun locks. This investigation examined law enforcement officers' willingness to use gun locks on their own guns, as well as their opinions regarding gun locks in general.

Setting—Law enforcement officers from an urban agency in the southern region of the United States.

Methods—Free keyed cable gun locks were distributed to all law enforcement officers in one agency who wanted one, and then an anonymous questionnaire survey was conducted about their subsequent use of, and attitudes toward, these devices.

Results—About half of the 207 officers collected gun locks (n=103). Nearly three quarters (73%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Two thirds reported that they were not using the gun lock they collected (65%), and over half disagreed that gun lock use should be required (56%). Very few cited any actual or potential technical problems with the device. An important reason given for non-use of gun locks related to being able to access the weapon quickly in case of an emergency.

Conclusions—The findings highlight the need for further investigation into law enforcement officers' attitudes toward gun locks, the degree to which their attitudes affect their firearm safety counseling, and the need to develop a gun safety device that can be disengaged quickly.

  • firearms/guns
  • law enforcement officers
  • gun locks

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