Vehicle firearm storage: Prevalence and correlates in a sample of male firearm owners
Tucker, R.P., Powers J., Pardue-Bourgeois S., Oakey-Frost, N., Moscardini, E.H., Gilroy, S.P., ... & Anestis, M.D.
Abstract Previous research has linked unsafe firearm storage practices and other ownership-related characteristics to key factors that facilitate the transition from suicidal thoughts to suicidal behaviors (i.e., acquired capability for suicide). This research has not investigated the extent to which firearm owners store firearms in their vehicles, a factor that increases ready access to the most lethal means of suicide. Objective This cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of occasional and permanent vehicle firearm storage as well as demographic and psychological correlates of this practice in a sample of N = 408 adult male firearm owners oversampled for historical thoughts of suicide. Methods Participants completed an online survey for monetary compensation. Results Over 40% of participants indicated at least occasionally storing firearms in their vehicles with over 15% indicating storage of firearms unlocked and loaded. Elevated scores on measures of negative affect, worry, intolerance of uncertainty, and historical suicidal thoughts and behaviors were seen in those who endorsed vehicle firearm storage compared to those who did not. Conclusion Individual and public health firearm safety strategies would benefit from an explicit focus on the transition of firearms to and from one’s vehicle.