HealthDay News — Health care providers rarely screen for firearm access, according to a study published in the April issue of Preventive Medicine.
Allison E. Bond, from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and colleagues examined the extent to which providers screen for firearm access in a representative sample including 3,510 residents from five states who reported whether they had been asked about firearm access by a health care provider.
The researchers found that only 17.1 percent of participants had been asked about firearm access by a health care provider. White and male individuals and firearm owners were more likely to have been asked. The likelihood of being screened for firearm access was increased for those with children younger than 17 years in the home, those who have received mental health treatment, and those reporting a history of suicidal ideation.
“Although we know that firearm access increases the risk for fatal injury for everyone in the home, health care providers are rarely asking about firearm access,” Bond said in a statement. “In order to prevent these injuries and deaths, health care providers need [to] consider adding screening for firearm access into standard practice so that they are better positioned to then provide resources on secure firearm storage to the families that would most benefit from that information.”