When Access to Firearms is by Older Americans With Depression and Dementia

Older people working with older people

A new study found that more than a fifth of older people living with depression in a house with a gun store their firearms without locking and loading.

When it comes to gun violence in America, politicians and citizens often speak of any solution to better mental health screening. However, a new study suggests that little is being done to mitigate the risks of gun ownership and unsafe gun storage among older Americans who have guns at home and who may be very injured themselves. or hurt others.

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The study asked people over 65 years of age whether they had a firearm in their own home, how they stored them, and whether they had certain mental health symptoms such as depression, confusion, memory loss, and t mental distress often. It has found similar rates of suicide risk factors and harm to others among families with and without firearms. The storage rates for these firearms, whether locked and unloaded or unlocked and loaded, were also found to be similar to those of non-gun owners. For example, 16 per cent of older people living in gun houses had a depression diagnosis, and about 18 per cent of older people living in gunless homes were diagnosed with depression. More than one in five people living with depression in a family held a gun holding their firearms all without locking and loading. Sixty-two per cent of households surveyed had guns. The data came from Washington State, the only state that collected this information.


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