UK researchers seeking opinions, experiences with firearms

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The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by TK Logan, Ph.D., professor in the UK College of Medicine.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 17, 2022) No matter how you feel about guns, the fact is that firearm-related deaths have been increasing in the United States since 2009. In 2020, more than 45,000 people died of gun-related injuries in this country — more than any year on record. Nine hundred of those deaths were in Kentucky, where firearms are the second-leading cause of death among children and teens.

At the same time, many Americans enjoy target shooting, rely on hunting for food or feel the need to own a firearm for protection. Gun sales have increased significantly during the pandemic, both nationally and in Kentucky, with many of the gun sales going to new gun owners.

A team of researchers at the UK College of Medicine is interested in hearing a variety of opinions and experiences from young adults and parents of youth about guns. We do not have a stance on guns other than wanting to reduce injuries and deaths among young people. Your experiences are important, and we want to hear as many points of view as possible.

We are inviting 18- to 25-year-olds who have experience with guns (both positive and negative, including threats/violence), as well as parents of youth ages 13 to 25 who’ve had experiences with guns, to participate in a confidential phone interview. Your name will never be linked to your responses; all comments will be reported as a group.

The interview will ask about your experiences with guns, your opinions about guns and related violence/injury, your perspectives about ways to reduce firearm-related risks, personal safety concerns and if you’ve had experiences with violence.

If you are eligible and agree to participate in this study, you will receive a $50 e-gift card for your time. We hope to talk to about 100 young adults and 60 parents of youth.

The overall findings from these interviews will be help to inform clinical services and public health policy. We also hope to get additional funding so we can develop a program to help prevent firearm injury, especially among young people who use alcohol and/or drugs.

You can make a difference by participating. For more information and to take an eligibility survey, visit, email or call or text 859-407-4391.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.