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IACP Project Safe Neighborhoods: Firearms in the Home

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2016
2 pages
This Fact Sheet reviews data on the prevalence of firearms in American homes and the probabilities that a firearm in the home will increase the likelihood that those firearms will be used in homicides and suicides in those homes.
According to the Pew Research Center, 37 percent of adults reported having a firearm in their household, and 48 percent of firearm owners indicated that the primary reason they own a firearm is for protection; approximately 32 percent reported using them for hunting. A 2008 article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that when a firearm is stored in a home, the possibility of a homicide in that home increases by up to 170 percent, and the possibility of suicide increases by up to 460 percent. Data on the location of firearm homicides shows that 4 out of 10 occur in a home; 8 out of 10 firearm suicides occur in a home; and 9 out of 10 unintentional shooting fatalities occur in a home. Approximately one-third of all Americans with children under the age of 18 have a firearm in their home; of these, 34 percent have children younger than 12. A total of 1,700,000 children live in a home with unlocked, loaded guns. Sixty-eight percent of school shooters acquired their guns from their own homes or homes of relatives. Project ChildSafe is a nationwide educational program that promotes the safe storage of firearms in a home by providing responsible gun owners with the tools and information for securely storing their guns.