REFERENCE: Morrison, T. C., Hofstetter, C. R., Hovell, M. F. (1995). Firearm ownership and safety practices: A random-digit dial survey of San Diego. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 11, 364-370.
A random-digit dialing procedure was used to identify correlates of gun ownership and storage for a defined population. Of subjects contacted, 525 (64.7%) completed the survey. Subjects were generally representative of the population with slight under-representation of minority groups (16% were non-Caucasian). Of respondents, 129 (25.2%) reported owning a gun. Of these, 72.6% owned a handgun, 55% kept firearms for protection, 27.7% kept gun(s) loaded and ready to shoot, 66.4% kept gun(s) locked, and 46.2% carried gun(s) in the car some of the time. The strongest correlates of ownership were formal training (odds ratio [OR] = 3.52; 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 2.18, 5.67) and having been shot at (OR = 2.15; 95% CI = .97, 4.75). The strongest correlates of loaded gun status were children in the home (OR = 6.46; 95% CI = 1.18, 35.42), formal training (OR = 4.65; 95% CI = 1.04, 20.77), and keeping a gun for protection (OR = 8.82; 95% CI = .87, 89.83). Having been shot at was negatively correlated with keeping one's gun(s) locked (OR = .26; 95% CI = .07, 1.01). The strongest correlates of keeping a gun in the car were handgun ownership (OR = 11.44; 95% CI = 1.02, 128.65), keeping one's gun(s) loaded (OR = 3.79; 95% CI = 1.00, 14.43), and formal training (OR = 3.34; 95% CI = .82, 13.65). The data suggest that leaving firearms loaded and unlocked is common. Results may provide guidance in the design of interventions to decrease firearm-related morbidity and mortality.