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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2980416, 5 pages
Research Article

Gun Access and Safety Practices among Older Adults

1VA Eastern Colorado GRECC, Denver, CO 80022, USA
2Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA
3Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

Received 9 October 2015; Accepted 12 January 2016

Academic Editor: Carlos Fernandez-Viadero

Copyright © 2016 Hillary D. Lum et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Given high rates of gun ownership among older adults, geriatric providers can assess firearm safety practices using a “5 Ls” approach: Locked; Loaded; Little children; feeling Low; and Learned owner. This study describes gun access and the “5 Ls” among US older adults. Methods. Data on the “5 Ls” from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey (ICARIS-2), a national telephone survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were analyzed. Weighted variables were used to generate national estimates regarding prevalence of gun ownership and associated gun safety among older adults (≥55 years). Results. Of 2939 older adults, 39% (95% CI 37%–42%) reported ≥1 gun stored at home. Among those with guns at home, 21% (95% CI 18–24%) stored guns loaded and unlocked; 9.2% (95% CI 6.6–12%) had ≥1 child in household; 5.1% (95% CI 3.5–6.8%) reported past-year suicidal ideation and 3.6% (95% CI 2.1–5.2%) reported history of a suicide attempt; and 55% (95% CI 51–59%) stated that ≥1 adult had attended firearm safety workshop. Conclusion. Some older adults may be at elevated risk of firearm injury because of storage practices, suicidal thoughts, or limited safety training. Future work should assess effective approaches to reduce the risk of gun-related injuries among older adults.