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CDC report shows many homes with young children have loaded, unlocked guns

The CDC said firearms that caused unintentional deaths of children were stored loaded 74% of the time and unlocked 76% of the time.
Gun with ammunition.
Posted at 12:10 PM, Jun 14, 2024

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study indicated that numerous gun owners with children under the age of 17 keep their guns loaded and unlocked.

The study did not give a national average, instead providing data from eight states: Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma.

According to the study, among the eight states, California had the lowest gun ownership rate at 18.4%, compared to 50.6% in Alaska. Depending on the state, anywhere between 19.5% and 43.2% of gun owners keep their guns loaded. Those with children were slightly less likely to keep their guns loaded than gun owners without children in the home.

In all but one state, a majority of gun owners who keep their guns loaded also keep them unlocked, the study found.

When factoring in whether there were children in the household, 25.2% of Ohioans who have a loaded gun keep it unlocked. In Alaska, 41.4% of parents of minor children with loaded guns keep them unlocked.

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"Secure firearm storage is associated with lower risk for firearm injuries," the CDC said.

"Researchers have suggested that secure storage practices might decrease the risk for firearm-related injuries and deaths among persons with a firearm in the home, particularly children and youths," the study says. "Understanding the variation in state- and demographic-specific firearm storage behaviors might help state and local governments, community partners, and practitioners create focused approaches to decreasing firearm-related injuries and deaths in their communities."

The data came from a 2021 and 2022 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.

Last year, the CDC released data that said unintentional injuries were the leading cause of death among children, and that firearms were a top cause.

The CDC said firearms that caused unintentional deaths of children were stored loaded 74% of the time and unlocked 76% of the time.