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Original Article

Reliability of a Short Gun Questionnaire

Leslie S. Zun, MD, MBA, La Vonne Downey, PHD
Volume: 96 Issue: 12 December, 2003

Abstract:

BackgroundThe purpose of the study was to develop and test a short gun questionnaire and compare its reliability to a long gun questionnaire to identify youths who may have access to or ownership of a gun.MethodsA seven-question short gun questionnaire asking about gun accessibility, ownership, and usage was modified from the much longer gun questionnaire. To determine reliability of the short tool, the results of the short gun questionnaire were compared with the long gun questionnaire. Both the long and the short gun questionnaires were administered to a convenience sample of 100 consenting young people aged 10 to 24 years old treated for any complaint. The study was approved by the institutional review board.ResultsOf the 100 youths, 66% of participants were black and 31% were Hispanic. The average age was 21 years and 39% were male. Two youths said that they had a gun, 38.0% said it would be easy to get a gun, and 25% said it would be impossible to obtain one. None of the youths had shared ownership of a gun and 4% said that there was a gun in their home, garage, or car. Eight percent of the youths had fired a gun in the past 6 months and 24% had fired a gun more than 6 months ago. The respondents’ answers to all the questions in the short questionnaire were not statistically different from the responses in the long questionnaire at the P < 0.05 level.ConclusionThe developed short questionnaire provides results similar to the long questionnaire: a low number of gun owners but a high level of gun accessibility and availability.

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