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Few Adults Report Having Firearm Safety Discussions With Doctors

7.5 percent of respondents report having ever discussed firearm safety; 12 percent among those living with children

MONDAY, Jan. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Less than 10 percent of U.S. adults living in homes with firearms report having discussed firearm safety with a clinician, according to a research letter published online Dec. 22 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Andrew Conner, from Quinnipiac University in North Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues estimated the proportion of adults in gun-owning households who have discussed firearm safety with a clinician using data from the second National Firearms Survey, conducted online from July 30 to Aug. 11, 2019. Adults living in homes with firearms were surveyed; data were included from 4,030 adult respondents.

The researchers found that 7.5 percent of the respondents had ever discussed firearm safety with a provider (12 versus 5.3 percent of those living with versus without children). The majority of the encounters involved an outpatient medical visit. Overall, 48 percent of respondents spoken to about firearms reported that locking all firearms was discussed at their most recent visit, while 31.8 and 15.9 percent, respectively, reported that storing ammunition separately from firearms and removing firearms from the home were discussed. When the patient was a child, removing firearms was rarely discussed (4.1 percent); conversations about removal were reported by one-quarter or one-half of respondents when the patient was the respondent or another adult, respectively.

“Our study suggests that efforts to date have not adequately promoted firearm safety discussions in clinical settings,” the authors write.

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