Safety >> Homes with Guns >> Homes With Guns: Notes & Sources

Homes With Guns: Notes & Sources

Source: Washington State Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, supported in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cooperative Agreement U58/DP006066-01 (2015). 

Data are from the Washington State and national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is an annual random telephone interview survey of non-institutionalized adults ages 18 and older that has been conducted in King County since 1987. Starting in 2003, the BRFSS was administered in English and Spanish. The limitations of an English-and-Spanish-only telephone survey include the following: a) people who do not have a land line telephone or who do not speak English or Spanish are excluded, and b) people who have less education and lower incomes are underrepresented. Prevalence rates from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey are expressed as percent of the adult population, usually ages 18+. Exceptions to the age range are noted. These rates are not age-adjusted.

For additional information on the Washington State BRFSS, see: http://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/HealthBehaviors/BehavioralRiskFactorSurveillanceSystemBRFSS.aspx.

For additional information on the national BRFSS, see https://www.cdc.gov/brfss/

Indicator Definitions 

Gun stored in or around home:

Numerator: People who responded “Yes” to the question: “Firearms include weapons such as pistols, shotguns, and rifles. In answering the questions, do not include BB guns, starter pistols, or guns that cannot fire. Include those kept in a garage, outdoor storage area, car, truck, or other motor vehicle. Are any firearms now kept in or around your home?”

Denominator: All respondents who answered the question.

Gun stored loaded:

Numerator: People who responded “Yes” to the question: “Is there a firearm in or around your home that is now loaded?”

Denominator: People who responded “Yes” to the question: “Firearms include weapons such as pistols, shotguns, and rifles. In answering the questions, do not include BB guns, starter pistols, or guns that cannot fire. Include those kept in a garage, outdoor storage area, car, truck, or other motor vehicle. Are any firearms now kept in or around your home?”

Gun stored unlocked:

Numerator: People who responded “Yes” to the question: “Is there a firearm in or around your home that is now unlocked? By unlocked, we mean you do not need a key or combination to get the gun or to fire it. We don’t count a safety as a lock.”

Denominator: People who responded “Yes” to the question: “Firearms include weapons such as pistols, shotguns, and rifles. In answering the questions, do not include BB guns, starter pistols, or guns that cannot fire. Include those kept in a garage, outdoor storage area, car, truck, or other motor vehicle. Are any firearms now kept in or around your home?”

Gun stored loaded and unlocked:

Numerator: People who responded “Yes” to the question: “Is there a firearm in or around your home that is now loaded?” and “Yes” to the question: “Is there a firearm in or around your home that is now unlocked? By unlocked, we mean you do not need a key or combination to get the gun or to fire it. We don’t count a safety as a lock.” and responded  

Denominator: People who responded “Yes” to the question: “Firearms include weapons such as pistols, shotguns, and rifles. In answering the questions, do not include BB guns, starter pistols, or guns that cannot fire. Include those kept in a garage, outdoor storage area, car, truck, or other motor vehicle. Are any firearms now kept in or around your home?”

Data here are from 2000, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

For more information about guns in King County, see https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/violence-injury-prevention/violence-prevention/gun-violence/LOK-IT-UP/firearm-facts.aspx

Other Notes

Confidence interval (also called "error bar") is the range of values that includes the true value 95% of the time. If the confidence intervals of two groups do not overlap, the difference between groups is statistically significant (meaning that chance or random variation is unlikely to explain the difference).   

Cities and Neighborhoods: In 2011, new King County Health Reporting Areas (HRAs) were created to coincide with city and neighborhood boundaries in King County.  HRAs are based on aggregations of U.S. Census Bureau-defined blocks.  Where possible, HRAs correspond to neighborhoods within large cities, and delineate unincorporated areas of King County. The new HRAs were designed to help cities and planners as they consider issues related to local health status or healthy policy.  HRAs are used whenever we have sufficient sample size to present the data.

King County regions: The geographic boundaries of the four King County sub-regions (North, Seattle, East, and South) are defined by the aggregation of cities and neighborhoods. 

Race/Ethnicity: Federal standards mandate that race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) are distinct concepts requiring 2 separate questions when collecting data from an individual. "Hispanic origin" is meant to capture the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of an individual (or his/her parents) before arriving in the United States. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race. Communities Count's terms for racial/ethnic groups are derived from those used by the U.S Census Bureau in 2010.

  • Communities Count terms:  Hispanic, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI), White, and Multiple Race (Multiple). Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race and are included in other racial categories. Racial/ethnic groups are sometimes combined when sample sizes are too small for valid statistical comparisons of more discrete groups. 

Rolling averages:  When the frequency of an event varies widely from year to year, rates are sometimes aggregated into averages – often in 3-year intervals – to smooth out the peaks and valleys of the yearly data. For example, for events occurring from 2001 to 2010, rates may be graphed as three-year rolling averages: 2001-2003, 2002-2004…2008-2010. Adjacent data points will contain overlapping years of data. Statistical tests comparing data points with overlapping times are not appropriate.