More than a third of U.S. households with teens own firearms and more than two-thirds of these gun owners store at least one firearm unlocked and/or loaded, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Surprisingly, the findings also show that prior exposure to violence is not associated with gun owners’ current storage practices.

“These findings are consistent with prior work that has found that owning a firearm for protection (vs. nonprotection motivations) is associated with storing firearms in an easy-to-access manner, that is, unlocked and/or loaded,” said Rebeccah Sokol, U-M assistant professor of social work and the study’s lead author.

Sokol and colleagues collected data about violence exposure, motivations for firearm ownership and firearm storage among U.S. caregivers of teens. The study puts a spotlight on responsible gun ownership, which includes owners taking steps to ensure the weapons are stored securely.

View the full release written by Jared Wadley

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