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Firearm Storage and Adult Alcohol Misuse Examined

JAMA Pediatrics; ePub 2018; Nov 19; Morgan, et al

Children living in a household with an adult who misuses alcohol may be more likely to live with an unsafely stored firearm, according to a recent study, which is concerning given the association between adult alcohol misuse and children’s risk for sustaining injury. This cross-sectional investigation used data from the 2013 and 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in the state of Washington. The 2013 and 2016 data included 5,241 responses to the firearm ownership and storage module and the Random Child Selection module. Researchers found:

  • Among the 3,443 children living in a non–firearm-owning household, 50.7% were male; among those reporting specific age, the weighted mean age was 9.3 years.
  • Of the 1,756 children living in a firearm-owning household, 52.5% were male; among those reporting specific age, the weighted mean age was 9.1 years.
  • An estimated 470,000 children (29.4%) in the state resided in a firearm-owning household.
  • Among them, 258,000 children (54.6%) lived with at least 1 firearm that was not stored safely.
  • Firearms were more likely to be stored unsafely in homes in which an adult reported alcohol misuse.


Morgan ER, Gomez A, Rivara FP, Rowhani-Rahbar A. Firearm storage and adult alcohol misuse among Washington State households with children. [Published online ahead of print November 19, 2018]. JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.3624.