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Evaluation of safe firearm storage messaging in a sample of firearm-owning US military service members

APA Citation:

Anestis, M. D., Cryan, C. J., Capron, D. W., & Bryan, A. O. (2022). Evaluation of safe firearm storage messaging in a sample of firearm-owning US military service members. JAMA Network Open, 5(10), Article e2235984. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.35984



Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Aged (65 yrs & older)
Very old (85 yrs & older)


Quantitative Study


Anestis, Michael D., Bryan, Craig J., Capron, Daniel W., Bryan, AnnaBelle O.


Nearly two-thirds of military suicides involve firearms, and safe firearm storage is rare.To examine whether US military service members endorse greater openness to safe firearm storage depending on the content of the visual message they are randomly assigned to view.This comparative effectiveness study used a 3 × 2 × 2 factorial design to randomize US military service members to view 1 of 12 visual messages on safe firearm storage. Willingness to use safe firearm storage practices was assessed immediately before and after exposure to the message. Participants were recruited using the KnowledgePanel Calibration approach. Inclusion criteria included current membership in the US military and current firearm ownership. The KnowledgePanel sample was fielded from December 3 to 27, 2021, with a 76% completion rate and 45 individuals determined to be qualified (28% qualification rate). The opt-in sample was fielded December 7, 2021, through January 4, 2022, with 699 individuals (3%) qualified and 674 included in the final data set.Messages shared the same image and text on safe firearm storage but varied in messenger occupation (eg, primary care physician, security forces, or combat controller), the presence of text validating the perspective of firearm owners, and the presence of text validating the drive for home protection.Outcomes included changes in willingness to use 4 at-home (unloaded, separate from ammunition, in a locked location, and with a locking device) and 3 away-from-home (with family or friend, at a firearm retailer, or at a law enforcement agency) firearm storage practices. All analyses, including sample descriptives, are based on weighted data.Of the 719 individuals in the data set, 367 (median [range] age, 33.64 [18-86] years; 80.4% male; 71.4% White) who endorsed not currently storing firearms using the methods assessed were included in analyses. In a multivariate analysis of variance, a significant interaction was found among time, messenger profession, gun-friendly text, and home protection text across all outcomes (Wilks’

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

JAMA Network

Publication Type:


Author Affiliation:

New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, MDA
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, MDA
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, CJB
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, AOB
University of Southern Mississippi, DWC


firearm storage, military


This work was in part supported by the Military Suicide Research Consortium, an effort supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs under award W81XWH-16-2-0003 (Dr Anestis, principal investigator).

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