Nearly Half of Chicago Parents Who Own Guns Keep Them Loaded While Stored, Study Finds

Nearly half of Chicago parents that own guns keep them loaded while stored, according to a new study.

The study, which was conducted by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, found that 46 percent of parents in the city store their firearms at home, loaded.

"The safest storage for firearms is to keep them locked and unloaded," the study said.

The study is part of the hospital's Voices of Child Health in Chicago reports and surveyed 1,505 parents throughout the city "about steps they take toward firearm safety and how gun violence has altered their lives."

According to the study, 22 percent of all parents in Chicago said they have firearms at home and 89 percent said they keep them stored and locked inside their homes.

Among the reasons for keeping a firearm at home, the study found that 77 percent said it was for protection, 32 percent said hunting or target shooting, 14 percent said it was "part of a collection" and 11 percent said for a parent's job.

"We know that the very best way to keep children safe from guns is to not keep guns in the home. It's also important for parents to ask whether guns are present in the homes of friends and family members where their children spend time," Dr. Matthew M. Davis, chair of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children's, said in the study.

Across different areas of Chicago, the study found that the highest rate of gun ownership was in the city's Central Region, where 59 percent of parents said they owned a firearm. According to the study, other areas of the city ranged between 18 and 30 percent of parents saying they own firearms.

The study also found that nearly one in four Chicago parents said their families have been "personally affected by gun violence," while over 50 percent said they spoke with their children about avoiding gun violence in the city.

The study noted that "The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates that a home without firearms is the safest way to prevent child firearm injuries and deaths."

Over the past few months, Chicago has seen a rise in violent crime, including an increase in reported shooting incidents. According to data from the Chicago Police Department, from July 27 to August 2, there were 98 reported shooting incidents, which is a 31 percent increase from the same time in 2020, when there were 75.

From the start of 2021 to August 2, the Chicago Police Department said there have been at least 1,999 shooting incidents. During the same time period in 2020, there were 1,800.

Newsweek reached out to the Chicago Police Department for comment on the study's findings but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Guns in Chicago
A new study found that nearly 50 percent of parents who own guns in Chicago keep them loaded while stored. Above, a customer shops for a pistol at Freddie Bear Sports on December 17, 2012, in Tinley Park, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty