Almost half of American households (43%) have a gun.(1) When you visit a neighbor there’s a reasonable chance there will be a gun there. For every 10 homes you visit, expect to find guns in at least four. If you’re a parent, and you’re taking a child to a play date, you need to know where those guns are and that they are where the children can’t reach them.
And that might not be the case. A survey of gun owners in California (2) identified four district groups based on number and types of guns owned and safety of gun storage:
Group 1: 26% of all owners, have one long gun for a purpose other than protection.
Group 2: 21% of all owners and heavily female, have one handgun for self-protection. The gun typically is “moderately secure”.
Group 3: 31% of owners, have five or more guns used for purposes other than protection. These weapons are stored securely (unloaded and locked).
Group 4: 14% of owners, have at least two weapons for personal protection, at least one of which is loaded and readily accessible.
Group 5: 9% of owners, have five or more weapons including large magazine and assault-style weapons, which are kept loaded and readily accessible.
As a neighbor, accidental shootings are probably most likely to occur in the homes of people in groups 2, 4 and 5.
When guns are loaded and readily at hand, kids can pick them up and use them, or the adult can in a moment of drunkenness, rage or stupidity. It doesn’t take much time to slip a clip into a gun, but the few extra seconds of thought might make a world of difference. And untrained kids won’t know how to do that.