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.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.