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Comment & Response
September 23, 2019

What Is Safe Household Firearm Storage to Prevent Deaths Among US Youths?—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Department of Health Policy and Management, T. H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Bouve College of Health Sciences, Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(11):1109. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.3241

In Reply We thank Brown for offering commentary on our study estimating the reduction in youth firearm suicide and unintentional firearm mortality that would result if more adults in households with youths stored household guns locked.1 We wholeheartedly agree with Brown’s assertion that storing household firearms safely (locked and preferably unloaded, with ammunition stored separately), while protective, does not eliminate the risk to youths residing in a home where firearms are kept. Indeed, our analysis accounted for this reality by incorporating into our counterfactual model the probability (64%, as derived from a published estimate of the safe storage effect) that safely stored firearms would prevent a firearm fatality that would have otherwise occurred. Thus, while our models estimated the life-saving consequence of adopting safer firearm storage, they did so while also accounting for the likelihood that some youths, despite safe storage practices in their homes, might still access a gun and harm themselves.

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