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Most Veterans Have Guns, Store Them Unsafely, Study Finds

More than half of military veterans with access to firearms store them unsafely, and nearly 40 percent store their guns loaded, found to a new study led by Yale University that used a national sample of 2,441 veterans, reports The Trace. It reported that half of former military service members owned at least one personal firearm, also finding a link between a history of exposure to direct trauma and an increased likelihood of unsafe storage practices.

Suicide is a particularly high risk. Between 2001 and 2021, firearm usage in veteran suicide deaths increased by 58%. Firearms were used in 72 percent of suicide deaths among veterans that year and former military members accounted for about 14 percent of the 46,412 suicides reported nationwide. Unsafe firearm storage practices were higher among older veterans, and those who had no children at home or had higher incidents of direct trauma exposure. Veterans who were more likely to secure their firearms safely were either married or partnered, or lived in the Northeast, where there’s a greater medical and political focus on safe storage.


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