American Indian/Alaska Natives, Blacks Have High Level of Firearm Access
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American Indian/Alaska Natives, Blacks Have High Level of Firearm Access

Similar firearm storage patterns were seen; a substantial proportion endorsed always, nearly always carrying firearms outside the house

TUESDAY, March 5, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Black adults have high access to firearms and cite protection as a main reason for owning or carrying a firearm, according to a study published online March 4 in JAMA Network Open.

Michael D. Anestis, Ph.D., from The State University of New Jersey in Piscataway, and colleagues surveyed a nationally representative sample of AI/AN and/or Black adults to examine geodemographic differences in firearm behaviors and violence exposure. Data were included for 3,542 participants: 14.9 and 85.1 percent were AI/AN and Black, respectively.

The researchers found that high firearm access rates were exhibited by both groups (45.4 and 30.4 percent for AI/AN and Black adults, respectively), with handguns predominantly owned for home protection. Similar firearm storage patterns were seen in the groups, and a substantial proportion endorsed always or almost always carrying firearms outside the house (18.9 and 15.2 percent of AI/AN and Black adults, respectively). A common reason for carrying a firearm was self-protection (84.9 and 88.3 percent for AI/AN and Black adults, respectively); lack of faith in the police was cited by a minority of participants (15.2 and 15.4 percent for AI/AN and Black adults, respectively), indicating potential shifts in the dynamics of public safety.

"The descriptive information presented here has implications for informing public health campaigns and policies to promote safe firearm use and prevent inequitable exposure to firearm violence," the authors write.

One author disclosed receiving book royalties from Oxford University Press.

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