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Am J Public Health. 2012 May;102 Suppl 2:S291-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300421. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Improving firearm storage in Alaska native villages: a randomized trial of household gun cabinets.

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  • 1Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.



We determined if the installation of gun cabinets improved household firearm storage practices.


We used a wait list, randomized trial design with 2 groups. The "early" group received the intervention at baseline, and the "late" group received it at 12 months. Up to 2 gun cabinets were installed in each enrolled home, along with safety messages. In-person surveys were conducted at 12 and 18 months to determine the proportion of households reporting unlocked guns or ammunition. Direct observations of unlocked guns were also compared.


At baseline, 93% of homes reported having at least 1 unlocked gun in the home, and 89% reported unlocked ammunition. At 12 months, 35% of homes in the early group reported unlocked guns compared with 89% in the late group (P < .001). Thirty-six percent of the early homes reported unlocked ammunition compared with 84% of late homes (P < .001). The prevalence of these storage practices was maintained at 18 months. Observations of unlocked guns decreased significantly (from 20% to 8%) between groups (P < .03).


Gun cabinet installation in rural Alaskan households improved the storage of guns and ammunition. If these gains are sustained over time, it may lead to a reduction in gun-related injuries and deaths in this population.

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