The impact of prior exposure to violence and victimization on parental firearm ownership

Pelletier K, Pizarro J, Zimmerman M, Carter P, Cunningham R. The impact of prior exposure to violence and victimization on parental firearm ownership. Injury Prevention 28 (Suppl 1), A33-A34. 


Statement of Purpose The purpose of this study is to determine the association between prior exposure to violence and violent victimization has on firearm carriage among parents. In order to examine this association, the research question examined in this study is, what is the role of exposure to violence and prior victimization on firearm ownership?

Methods/Approach The data examined in this study come from the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens Consortium’s National Survey. Using data collected from June 24 to July 22 in 2020, a total of 11,179 parents were surveyed on a multitude of questions including questions related to firearm ownership, violence within their community, and demographics. A total of 2,924 parents are included in the sample examined. These data are examined using stepwise logistic regression to answer the research question.

Results The logistic regression models demonstrate that exposure to certain kinds of community violence are associated with an increased likelihood of firearm ownership among parents. Specifically, hearing gunshots and witnessing someone being stabbed is associated with the likelihood of parents owning firearms. However, when demographic factors are considered, witnessing someone being stabbed lost its significance. The results of logistic regression also showed that there were certain instances of community violence that decreased the likelihood of parental firearm ownership. Witnessing someone dealing drugs and having seen someone getting beat up decreased the likelihood of parent firearm ownership prior to demographic covariates being added to the model. When the demographic covariates were added, those factors maintained their significance and another community violence exposure measure gained significance: having seen someone get shot.

Conclusions Exposure to violence significantly is associated with the likelihood of parental firearm ownership even when other mitigating covariates are present in the model. The association between exposure to prior violence and victimization is also evident on type of firearm owned. Implications from this study suggest that parents could benefit from resources to help provide and teach safe firearm storage and practices. This study contributes to the understanding scholars have surrounding parental firearm ownership and the link to prior exposure to violence.