Matthew Miller, MD, ScD; Lisa Hepburn, PhD; Deborah Azrael, PhD
Acknowledgment: The authors thank their Northeastern University colleagues Carmel Salhi, ScD, for generously running and thoughtfully conceiving and operationalizing their imputation strategy, and Justin Manjourides, ScD, for helping them think about their imputation approach.
Financial Support: Fund for a Safer Future and the Joyce Foundation.
Disclosures: Authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest. Forms can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M16-1590.
Editors' Disclosures: Christine Laine, MD, MPH, Editor in Chief, reports that she has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Darren B. Taichman, MD, PhD, Executive Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Cynthia D. Mulrow, MD, MSc, Senior Deputy Editor, reports that she has no relationships or interests to disclose. Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, Deputy Editor, reports that she has no financial relationships or interest to disclose. Jaya K. Rao, MD, MHS, Deputy Editor, reports that she has stock holdings/options in Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Sankey V. Williams, MD, Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Catharine B. Stack, PhD, MS, Deputy Editor for Statistics, reports that she has stock holdings in Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
Reproducible Research Statement:Study protocol: See the Appendix. Statistical code: Available from Dr. Miller (e-mail, email@example.com). Data set: Not available.
Requests for Single Reprints: Matthew Miller, MD, ScD, Northeastern University, Bouv College of Health Sciences, Department of Health Sciences, Room 316, Robinson Hall, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Miller: Northeastern University, Bouv College of Health Sciences, Department of Health Sciences, Room 316, Robinson Hall, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Drs. Hepburn and Azrael: Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 677 Huntington Avenue, Kresge 310, Boston, MA 02115.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: M. Miller, L. Hepburn, D. Azrael.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: M. Miller, L. Hepburn, D. Azrael.
Drafting of the article: M. Miller, L. Hepburn.
Critical revision for important intellectual content: M. Miller, L. Hepburn, D. Azrael.
Final approval of the article: M. Miller, L. Hepburn, D. Azrael.
Statistical expertise: M. Miller, L. Hepburn, D. Azrael.
Obtaining of funding: M. Miller, D. Azrael.
Administrative, technical, or logistic support: M. Miller.
Collection and assembly of data: M. Miller, D. Azrael.
Miller M, Hepburn L, Azrael D. Firearm Acquisition Without Background Checks: Results of a National Survey. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 3 January 2017]:. doi: 10.7326/M16-1590
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2017.
In 1994, 40% of U.S. gun owners who had recently acquired a firearm did so without a background check. No contemporary estimates exist.
To estimate the proportion of current U.S. gun owners who acquired their most recent firearm without a background check, by time since and manner of acquisition, for the nation as a whole and separately in states with and without legislation regulating private sales.
Probability-based online survey.
United States, 2015.
1613 adult gun owners.
Current gun owners were asked where and when they acquired their last firearm; if they purchased the firearm; and whether, as part of that acquisition, they had a background check (or were asked to show a firearm license or permit).
22% (95% CI, 16% to 27%) of gun owners who reported obtaining their most recent firearm within the previous 2 years reported doing so without a background check. For firearms purchased privately within the previous 2 years (that is, other than from a store or pawnshop, including sales between individuals in person, online, or at gun shows), 50% (CI, 35% to 65%) were obtained without a background check. This percentage was 26% (CI, 5% to 47%) for owners residing in states regulating private firearm sales and 57% (CI, 40% to 75%) for those living in states without regulations on private firearm sales.
Potential inaccuracies due to recall and social desirability bias.
22% of current U.S. gun owners who acquired a firearm within the past 2 years did so without a background check. Although this represents a smaller proportion of gun owners obtaining firearms without background checks than in the past, millions of U.S. adults continue to acquire guns without background checks, especially in states that do not regulate private firearm sales.
Fund for a Safer Future and the Joyce Foundation.
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