Betz, M. E., Polzer, E. R., Knoepke, C. E., Prater, L. C., Simonetti, J. A., Lee, T. M., ... & Nearing, K. A. (2022). Cars, Guns, Aging, and “Giving Up the Keys”. The Gerontologist.

Background and Objectives Age-associated changes can impair abilities forsafe driving and the use of firearms. We sought to examine multipleperspectives on reducing access to firearms, including similarities anddifferences compared to reducing driving. Research Design and Methods Onlinefocus groups and 1-on-1 interviews were conducted (November 2020 to May2021) in the United States with: older adults who drove and owned firearms;family members of older adult firearm owners/drivers; professionals inaging-related agencies; and firearm retailers/instructors. Recorded sessionswere transcribed, coded, and analyzed following a mixed inductive–deductivethematic analysis process. Results Among 104 participants (81 in focusgroups, 23 in interviews), 50 (48%) were female, and 92 (88%) White. Keysimilarities: decisions are emotional and challenging; needs change overtime; safety concerns are heightened by new impairments; prior experiencesprompt future planning; tension between autonomy and reliance on trustedothers; and strategies like reframing may ease transitions and avoidconfrontations. Key differences: “retirement” was not an acceptable term forfirearms; reducing driving may affect daily independence more, but there arefew alternatives for the psychological safety conferred by firearms; andthere are specific firearm-related legal concerns but more driving-relatedregulations, policies, and resources. Discussion and Implications Thesimilarities and differences in the processes and preferences related toreducing driving or firearm access have implications for the development ofresources to support planning and action. Such resources for the public andproviders might empower older adults and their families to make voluntary,shared decisions, and reduce injuries and deaths.