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Teen firearm access during COVID: a repeated cross-sectional analysis of Pennsylvania families

Lacey Nicole Wallace (Department of Criminal Justice, Penn State Altoona, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 27 July 2022

Issue publication date: 22 November 2022




This study aims to investigate patterns in adolescent gun access and household gun storage in 2021 and 2022.


Data were collected from two cross-sectional surveys of Pennsylvania parents with a teenage child at home.


The results indicated that about 20% of gun owners in each survey stored their guns loaded; a similar percentage stored their guns unlocked. Very few gun owners reported that their children could access their guns without adult supervision. This study found no change in gun storage practices between 2021 and 2022, but higher rates of gun ownership in 2022. The factors associated with gun storage behaviors did change between the two time points. COVID-related uncertainties and transitions in the household were linked to gun ownership and less safe storage practices in 2021, but not in 2022.


This study identified factors associated with teen gun access at distinct points during the pandemic. This study found little evidence of any association between child mental health and household firearm storage.



The author received funding from a Penn State Altoona Research Development Grant (2020).


Wallace, L.N. (2022), "Teen firearm access during COVID: a repeated cross-sectional analysis of Pennsylvania families", Safer Communities, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 260-271.



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