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A Qualitative study on diverse perspectives and identities of firearm owners
  1. Arielle C. Thomas1,2,
  2. Bonnie J. Siry-Bove3,
  3. Leslie M. Barnard4,5,
  4. Lauren Rooney6,7,
  5. Megan McCarthy5,
  6. Ayah Mustafa7,8,
  7. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar7,9,
  8. Frederick P. Rivara7,10,
  9. Marian E. Betz5,11,
  10. Christopher Knoepke12,13
  1. 1American College of Surgeons, Chicago, Wisconsin, USA
  2. 2Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  3. 3Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado - Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology, University of Colorado Health, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  5. 5Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  6. 6Firearm Injury and Policy Research, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
  7. 7Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  8. 8Firearm Injury and Policy Research, University of Washington Seattle Campus, Seattle, Washington, USA
  9. 9Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington, USA
  10. 10Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA
  11. 11VA Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  12. 12Department of Cardiology, University of Colorado - Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  13. 13Adult and Child Consortium for Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Arielle C. Thomas, Trauma, American College of Surgeons, Chicago, Wisconsin, USA; athomas{at}facs.org

Abstract

Objective Research surrounding firearm ownership is often contextualised within the perspectives of older white men. We expand this description using the perceptions of a diverse group of firearm-owning stakeholders.

Methods We conducted semistructured interviews from October 2020 to May 2021 with Colorado/Washington State stakeholders representing (1) firearm ranges/retailers; (2) law enforcement agencies or (3) relevant state/national firearm organisations. Data were analysed using standard qualitative techniques and included 25 participants, representing varied sociocultural groups including racial and ethnic minorities, political minorities and sexual minorities.

Results 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, defined as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT). Perspectives on firearm ownership included an idea of gun culture as a component of (1) personal identity, (2) an expression of full citizenship and (3) necessary for self-protection. A strong subtheme was the intersection of minority group and firearm owner identities, creating a need for divergent social communities because of ideas on traditional gun culture. These communities are a safe place for individuals belonging to minority groups to escape negative external and internal group associations with firearms.

Conclusion Perspectives on firearms and firearm ownership in the secondary analysis were heterogeneous and related to personal experiences, external and internal group pressures that influence individual behaviour. Understanding the breadth of perspectives on firearm ownership is imperative to engaging individuals for risk reduction. This study adds to the literature by expanding an understanding of the motivation for firearm ownership among diverse communities.

  • Firearm
  • Qualitative research
  • Community
  • Attitudes
  • Behavior

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article. Not applicable.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article. Not applicable.

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @ac_thomas7

  • Contributors CK and ACT accept full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish. MEB and MM contributed substantially to the conception and design of work and critical revision. CK and LMB contributed to the conception and design of study, acquisition of data, analysis of data, interpretation of data and critical revision. AM, BJS-B, LR, FPR and AR-R contributed to the acquisition of data, analysis of data, and interpretation of data, and critical revision. ACT contributed to the data analysis, interpretation of data, manuscript drafting and critical revision.

  • Funding Funding for this research was provided by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Mental Health: 1R61MH125754-01 and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences: CTSA UL1 TR002535.

  • 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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