Objective—To estimate the prevalence of gun ownership and methods of gun storage in homes of pediatric patients before and after an educational intervention.
Design—Before and after trial.
Setting—Hospital based, inner city, pediatric primary care practice.
Participants—Consecutive sample of parents of patients with appointments August to November 1994.
Intervention—Before the intervention, participants completed an anonymous questionnaire regarding ownership and storage of guns in their home. The intervention followed the Steps to Prevent Firearm Injury program of the American Academy of Pediatrics. It began after the parent completed the questionnaire and was reinforced at subsequent visits until July 1995. Families completing a baseline questionnaire and returning to the office July to October 1995 were resurveyed.
Main outcome measure—Reported change in gun ownership and methods of storage.
Results—A gun(s) in the home was reported by 8.7% of respondents. Matched baseline and follow up questionnaires were available for 23.6% of families. In these, gun ownership reportedly decreased after intervention from 9.4% to 7.0%, handgun ownership fell from 5.4% to 3.0%, and long gun ownership fell from 6.1% to 5.5%. Storing guns outside of a locked container did not change from the baseline prevalence of 2.7%, but keeping any gun loaded fell from 1.6% to 0.5%. All p values were >0.05.
Conclusion—This study was unable to demonstrate a statistically significant decline in gun ownership or improvement in gun storage after a practice based intervention designed to encourage these behaviors.