Always at the Ready: Fears, Threats, and Unsafe Gun Storage in Households With Children

Tara D. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Guns are present in many households in the U.S., including those with children. Safe storage of guns at home can mitigate the increased risks of both the unintentional and intentional injury that in-home gun access presents; yet estimates suggest fewer than half of gun owners store their weapon(s) safely. Unsafe storage in homes with children is especially problematic given that gun-owning parents make incorrect assumptions about both children’s awareness of firearm storage locations, and their actions upon encountering an unsecured gun. There is limited identification and understanding of why some parents do not engage in safe storage practices. Using 2019 survey data from an internet-based sample of gun-owning adults with children at home, this study explores various potential correlates of unsafe storage. Findings suggest that unsafe storage occurs not in response to crime/victimization fears, but from broader, group- and status-based threats. Understanding the complex factors preventing gun-owning parents from implementing safe storage practices has important implications for both victimization scholarship and public health/injury prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-458
Number of pages18
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • fear of crime
  • firearms
  • group threat
  • safe storage
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law


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