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Am J Public Health. 2012 Mar;102(3):396-400. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300404. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Current considerations about the elderly and firearms.

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Health and Societies program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


In the United States, more than 17 million people aged 65 years or older own a firearm. They have the highest rate of suicide by a firearm, and recent data suggest that a disproportionate number apply to carry a concealed weapon. At least one new handgun has been designed and marketed for older people. Memory, thinking, and judgment as well as physical and behavioral competence issues related to an elderly person's safe operation of a motor vehicle apply to firearms, too. Gun availability can pose a particular risk to those with dementia and to their caretakers. The elderly constitute a substantial and rapidly growing population and market segment for whom the public health implications of firearm production, promotion, access, ownership, and use merit consideration.

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