THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- About 3 million Americans carry a loaded handgun with them on a daily basis, a new survey reveals.
Another 9 million U.S. adults reported they carry their weapons on them on a monthly basis.
"Carrying firearms in public places can have significant implications for public health and public safety," said study lead author Ali Rowhani-Rahbar.
"An important first step to examining the consequences of firearm carrying at the national level is an accurate measurement of the occurrence of this behavior and characterization of those who engage in it," he noted.
Rowhani-Rahbar, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington's School of Public Health, made his comments in a school news release.
For the study, the researchers reviewed data from a 2015 survey of almost 1,500 gun owners. They found that those who carried a loaded handgun tended to be younger and male. They also tended to live in the southern United States and grew up in gun-owning homes. People carrying guns were more likely to identify as politically conservative, and to own more than one type of gun.
Many of those who carried a loaded handgun said they did so for protection.
Eighty percent of those who carried their handgun had a concealed-carry permit, and 66 percent said they always carried their handguns concealed. Ten percent said they always carried their guns openly.
"It was important to study handgun carrying, because about 90 percent of all firearm homicides and nonfatal firearm crimes for which the type of firearm is known are committed with a handgun," Rowhani-Rahbar said.
The study was published Oct. 19 in the American Journal of Public Health.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has more on gun violence.