Inj Prev 2018 Dec 19. Epub 2018 Dec 19.
Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Introduction: Little is known about female gun owners in the USA. We describe the number and type of firearms owned, and reasons for owning, by sex.
Methods: An online survey conducted in 2015 of 3949 US adults; cross-tabulations using survey weights generated nationally representative estimates.
Results: Twelve per cent (95% CI 10.6% to 13.6%) of women and 33.3% of men (95% CI 30.3% to 36.5%) personally owned guns. Male and female gun owners are demographically similar and cite similar reasons for owning firearms, but female gun owners own fewer guns (3.6 vs 5.6). Among female gun owners, 40.4% (95% CI 35.5% to 45.5%) own handguns only, whereas 20.7% (95% CI 18.2% to 23.4%) of male gun owners own handguns only. Approximately three of four male (73.4% (95% CI 70.3% to 76.3%)) and female (76.7% (95% CI 71.6% to 81.1%)) handgun owners own guns for protection from strangers. Males and female gun owners are equally likely to store at least one gun loaded and unlocked.
Conclusions: Male and female gun owners in the USA are demographically similar, cite similar reasons for owning guns and, despite males owning more guns, are equally likely to store at least one gun loaded and unlocked.