Shush -Let’s Not Talk About Firearm Safety

A Connor et al. Annals Int Med 2020; https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-6314 Firearm Safety Discussions Between Clinicians and U.S. Adults Living in Households With Firearms: Results From a 2019 National Survey

Methods: Data were obtained from the second National Firearms Survey, conducted online 30 July 2019 to 11 August 2019. Respondents (n=4030) were asked, “Has a physician or other health care practitioner ever spoken to you about firearm safety?”

Key finding:

  • Of all respondents, 7.5% (95% CI, 6.6% to 8.6%) had ever discussed firearm safety with a provider (12.0% [CI, 9.9% to 14.6%] of those living with children vs. 5.3% [CI, 4.4% to 6.3%] in homes without children)

In the comments to this brief study, several useful points were made.

  • #1: Train physicians on this topic: “1. This is not taking a position regarding gun ownership; 2. Access to firearms is associated with suicide, accidents, and firearm-related violence; 3. State laws regarding safe firearm storage; 4. Principles of safe storage; 5. Principle of separate ammunition storage; 5. Concept of removing firearms to another location (e.g., a relative) when children are small.”
  • #2 We can do better. “It’s not that hard to ask the question or put into your intake questionnaire; Is there a gun in the house? and if yes is the answer, follow-up”

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