Public Health Rep. 2020 Oct 7:33354920954789. doi: 10.1177/0033354920954789. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Although lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have a higher prevalence of reporting a lifetime suicide attempt than non-LGBT people, suicide prevention research on access to lethal means (eg, firearms) among LGBT people is limited. Our study examined (1) the presence of firearms in the home and (2) among respondents with firearms in the home, the storage of firearms as stored unloaded, stored as loaded and locked, or stored as loaded and unlocked.
METHODS: We used data from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys from California and Texas (N = 11 694), which were the only states to include items about both sexual orientation and gender identity and the status of firearms in the home. We used logistic regression analysis to assess the association of sexual orientation and gender identity with having firearms in the home while accounting for sociodemographic characteristics and survey state. All analyses were weighted to account for the complex sampling design.
RESULTS: Approximately 4.2% of the sample identified as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB). About 18.2% of LGB people reported firearms in the home compared with 29.9% of their heterosexual peers. After adjusting for sex, age, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and military veteran status, LGB respondents had significantly lower odds of reporting firearms in the home than their heterosexual peers (adjusted odds ratio = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.27-0.84). Among respondents with firearms in the home, firearm storage did not differ by sexual orientation.
CONCLUSIONS: Further research is needed to examine whether lower odds of firearms in the home are protective against suicide deaths among LGB populations.