Most trainers dealt with important safety issues, such as safely loading and unloading a gun, keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire, and being aware of the target and what’s behind it. In 50 to 75 percent of classes, trainers handled operating a security lock and cleaning up malfunctions and pattern transmission errors, and recommended storing unloaded and blocked weapons when the weapons were not in use (Hemenway et al., 2019b). However, much lower percentages of instructors discussed other safety issues, such as the role of firearms in suicide and domestic violence or the role of stolen firearms in firearm crimes. Schools should be a safe haven for the violence that afflicts so many Americans, but many states lack adequate legal protection against the presence of firearms in schools. Dangerous gaps in gun-free school laws, such as hidden wearing bans, threaten children’s safety and increase the likelihood of tragic school shootings. Meanwhile, the gun lobby’s efforts to force colleges and universities to allow guns on campuses pose a threat to the safety of students and postsecondary educators.
Wearing without a license deprives the police of this authority and forces them to allow people with violent criminal records to carry hidden weapons throughout the state. The survey asked about the details of the training, including whether it contained information about safe driving, safe storage and preventing gun accidents, theft and suicide. He also asked about the types of gun owners they had, political views, veteran status and the presence of children in the home. Many of the interviewees acknowledged that their weapons were loaded or stored in the same place as the ammunition, and some said their weapons were accessible to children.
The toll that gun violence is taking on victims, family members and medical services has resulted in a chronic public health crisis, with very little response from the government. Access to affordable, high-quality health care services in the United States should include necessary long-term health interventions, including long-term pain management, rehabilitation and other supportive services, and mental health care. Stricter laws limit the duration of permits and require applicants to renew a permit to undergo a full background check and full training and safety testing.
Without proper education, parents, teachers, and other well-meaning figures can unknowingly exacerbate a child’s or young person’s mental health problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended that doctors discuss the safety of guns with parents, but few actually do, citing lack of time and fear of offending patients. Recent laws in Florida and other states that seek to curb doctors’ ability to advise patients on firearms have added an additional layer of complexity. Proponents of those laws argue that doctors have no training in firearms and therefore are not qualified to talk about them.
These laws promote responsible gun ownership and ensure that basic standards of public safety are maintained when people carry concealed weapons in public places. The impact of safety training on the key outcomes depends on the content of the programs, the effectiveness of the programs in sending relevant information, and the number of gun owners who then adjust their behavior based on the information presented in the training. For example, if security training increases safe storage practices for firearms, we can expect the number of suicides and deaths from firearms and accidental number of firearms to decrease, although such storage practices may interfere with the use of defensive weapons (see our analysis of laws to prevent access to children). And the motivations of people who receive weapons training can affect the overall impact of training programs. For example, some states require people to undergo safety training before they can get a permit to carry a firearm in public places, presumably for self-defense.
This evidence of the relationship between participation in self-reported training and firearm storage behavior contrasts with the results of studies of gun owners’ beliefs about how firearm safety training affects their behavior and practices (Crifasi et al., 2018a). A 2016 survey of a national sample of gun owners found that 35 percent of respondents believed their storage practices were affected by weapons security training; the only factor that supported more was the care for the local defense. Respondents who reported that gun safety training affected their storage behavior reported significantly more safe storage behaviors, although this does not provide good evidence that training causes safer storage. In general, the effect of gun safety training on firearm practices is likely to vary depending on the components of the training, the method of training delivery, the reasons why a person owns a gun, and other contextual factors in the home.
In recent years, mass shootings have generally been perpetrated by men using semi-automatic assault-style weapons, often modified to mimic fully automatic versions through high-capacity magazines and bump stock technology. These shootings have taken place in public places, such as schools, nightclubs, churches and music venues. Reduce access to firearms for young people and people at risk of harming themselves or others. This includes keeping guns out of the hands of those who have been violent against their partners and families, and those with previous violent convictions, either by expanding lethality assessment and background checks or by supporting domestic violence bills and gun restraining orders. All of these professionals, and many more, are actively working to reduce violence and improve the well-being of children and youth across the country. Individually, they make small but significant contributions to the effort, but together, as a united front, these individuals and agencies can have a significant impact on the lives of children and youth exposed to violence in their homes, in their schools, and in their communities.
The seven strongest hidden transportation permit systems require applicants to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to demonstrate a good reason why the applicant needs a permit. In addition, ten states also require the applicant to be of good conduct before a permit is issued. In about half of the states, CCW applicants must also demonstrate a certain level of knowledge about firearm use and/or firearm safety.
Religious figures of all religions teach children and young people about loving themselves, others and their communities, and about how to be morally centered people. Social workers educate parents about positive parenting to reduce exposure to domestic violence and other traumas at home. Lobbyists and politicians are fighting for legislation that increases access to mental health care and restricts public access to guns. Historically, almost all states prohibited or restricted the carrying of hidden and loaded weapons in public places. In the late 20th century, some states began granting discretionary power to law enforcement to issue permits (often “CCWs” or permits to carry a concealed weapon) to individuals who passed a background check and received firearm safety training and/or demonstrated a particular need to carry hidden and loaded weapons in public.
The public health approach has evolved since then, and we have now updated it, including more focus on addressing the many forms of gun violence. More research is needed to understand the relationship between security training and changes in gun owners’ security behavior, including safe handling, pistol training law enforcement, and safe storage. More research is also needed to determine whether those taking firearm safety training are better able to use their weapons for self-defense or whether the courses do not provide enough training to adequately prepare owners for a defensive situation.