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West J Med. 1994 Aug;161(2):137-9.

Firearms in New Mexico.

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Division of Field Epidemiology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.


To determine the prevalence of firearm ownership and storage practices in New Mexico, we did a random-digit-dialing survey of New Mexico residents in October 1991. Of 200 households surveyed, 79 (40%) had 1 or more firearms in the home. Rural households were more likely than urban households to have firearms (44% versus 30%), and households with annual incomes of greater than $25,000 were more likely to have a firearm than households with incomes of $25,000 or less (41% versus 33%). Household firearm ownership did not vary with the presence of young (< 15 years old) children (38% with children versus 41% without). Handguns were generally owned for self-protection, and rifles were owned for hunting. Of households with firearms, 24% stored them unsafely (unlocked and loaded or unloaded but with ammunition nearby), including 21% of households with young children. Of the households with handguns only, 40% stored these firearms unsafely compared with 13% of those with rifles only. The prevalence of gun ownership in New Mexico is similar to that reported in national surveys; handguns are stored less safely than rifles; and the presence of young children in the home does not appear to improve firearm storage safety.

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