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Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Apr;58(4):551-3.

Base rates of firearm possession by hospitalized psychiatric patients.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, 401 Parnassus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA.



The authors assessed base rates of firearm possession reported by hospitalized psychiatric patients.


The study involved retrospective review of the charts of 100 patients consecutively admitted after a hospital had incorporated routine firearm screening in the workup done at admission and the charts of 100 patients who had been consecutively admitted during an earlier interval when firearm screening had been done on an as-needed basis.


Whereas one patient (1%) acknowledged having access to a firearm when screening had been done on an as-needed basis, under conditions of routine screening, nine patients (9%) reported owning or having access to a firearm.


A substantial proportion of hospitalized patients have access to firearms. Unless patients are directly asked about firearm access, this information may not come to the attention of health care providers. Strategies to manage the risk of suicide and violence by hospitalized patients may benefit from routine assessment of firearms possession.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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