More than half of Kentucky adults have a firearm in the home and 15 percent of those guns are loaded and unlocked, according to a the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll.
“Gun safety is a public health issue,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, a co-sponsor of the poll. “Whether it’s a toddler who stumbles across a loaded gun or a teenager showing off to a friend, accidents happen every day. We can prevent these tragedies by keeping guns and bullets in separate, secure places.”
The poll, taken Sept. 11 through Oct. 19, found that 55 percent of Kentucky adults had a firearm in or around the home, up from 45 percent in 2011, the last time the poll asked this question.
Asked if they had a loaded gun in the home, one in four of the gun owners said they did. Of those with a loaded gun, 10 percent said it was locked and 15 percent said it was unlocked.
among Kentuckians who had a child in the home, 59 percent also had a firearm there, compared to 44 percent in 2011. Of this group, 35 percent said it was unloaded, 12 percent said it was loaded but locked, and 12 percent said it was loaded and unlocked.
The news release noted that in 2015, 694 Kentuckians and nearly 1,500 children in America died from a firearm injury. Kentucky ranks about 26th in population but 13th in number of deaths from firearms, 15.2 per 100,000 people.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not keeping a firearm in a home with a child, but if you, it says the firearm should be unloaded and securely locked in storage, away from the ammunition.
The poll found that those with higher incomes were more likely to have a firearm in the home than those with lower incomes, around 60 percent compared to 47 percent. And those living in suburbs (63 percent) and rural counties (62 percent) were more likely to have a firearm in the home, compared to those in urban counties (37 percent).
The poll was funded by the foundation and Cincinnati-based Interact for Health. It surveyed a random sample of 1,580 Kentucky adults via landlines and cell phones, and has an error margin of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.