Majority US gun owners store weapons unsafely - report

A line of shotguns and rifles on display at a US gunstore
[Getty Images]

Many American gun owners, including those with young children, leave a firearm loaded and unsecured at home, a new Center for Disease Control report shows.

The report surveyed US gun owners in eight states, and it found that roughly half kept one weapon unlocked and loaded in their home.

Firearms stored at home are attributed to higher rates of homicide and suicide among household members, the report says.

It also states that guns are the leading cause of death in the US for those under the age of 20.

The CDC surveyed gun owners in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Ohio.

Gun ownership was highest in Alaska, where 50.6% of respondents said they kept a gun in or around their home.

The CDC report, which looked at data from 2021-2022, said gun homicide rates had declined "slightly", but they remained higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The report also notes that firearm suicide rates had increased since 2019. They are now at the highest levels on record since the CDC started keeping track in 1968.

“Storing a firearm out of sight or out of reach is not secure firearm storage,” Thomas Simon, an author of the study, told the New York Times.

Parents in the US could face legal difficulties for providing their children access to guns.

In April, the parents of a Michigan teenager who shot dead four students were each sentenced to 10-plus years in prison.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, who bought their son the gun that he used at his school, were the first parents of a US mass shooter to be convicted and sentenced.