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Eastern Professor Recognized for Firearm Storage Research

Published on October 17, 2018

Eastern Professor Recognized for Firearm Storage Research

Mitchell Doucette, an assistant professor in health sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University, was part of a research team recognized by the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) for having One of the Best Papers of the Year in 2018. Titled “Storage Practices of U.S. Gun Owners in 2016,” Doucette’s research study was selected for the journal’s Editor’s Choice Awards.

Self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injury is a major public health concern in the United States. Doucette’s research explores the factors that influence firearm storage among gun owners. Through a nationally representative online survey, it also assesses gun storage habits and attitudes about gun storage practices.

Methods for safe storage include securing guns in a locked safe or gun rack and using trigger locks. The study found that only 50 percent of gun owners self-reported storing all of their firearms safely. It was noted, however, that having children and/or participating in gun-safety courses increases the likelihood of safe firearm storage.

The research also examined the organizations that gun owners view as credible sources of information about firearm storage. The research found that gun owners viewed law enforcement and hunting/outdoor organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) as most credible for communicating safe gun storage.

“Safe gun storage has the potential to serve as a meaningful intervention to reduce both gun-related injuries and mortalities,” said Doucette. “Public health practitioners should utilize gun-safety training courses and partner with the groups that gun owners find credible – like law enforcement – to increase safe firearm storage.”

The American Journal of Public Health is dedicated to the publication of original work in research, research methods and program evaluation in the field of public health. The mission of the journal is to advance public health research, policy, practice and education. The December 2018 issue of AJPH will include a column about the winning publications, which will feature Doucette and his innovative research.

Written by Jolene Potter