A qualitative framing analysis of how firearm manufacturers and related bodies communicate to the public on gun-related harms and solutions

Zain Hussain, May C. I. van Schalkwyk, Sandro Galea, Mark Petticrew, Nason Maani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is a growing understanding that the producers and sellers of harmful products directly and indirectly affect population health and policy, including through seeking to influence public understanding about the nature of harms and their solutions. However, the firearm industry and related organisations have not to date been the subject of this type of enquiry. This study sought to address this evidential gap through examining the ways in which the firearm industry and industry-associated organisations frame firearms, firearm-related harms and possible solutions to gun violence. This was a thematic qualitative documentary analysis of materials from 7 of the largest firearm manufacturers and associated organisations. Two authors independently extracted textual material from web articles, press releases, annual reports and shareholder communications between 1st April 2019 to 1st April 2020 (302 documents). A hybrid approach combining both deductive and inductive coding was adopted, guided by the literature on the commercial determinants of health and using NVivo version 12. The firearm industry and firearm industry-funded organisations use framings about the safety and role of guns, evidence on associated harms and solutions that align with the industry's business interests, consistent with evidence on other harmful product manufacturers. This study identified framing strategies employed by the firearm industry and related organisations. These included attempts to undermine evidence, linking regulation to a dystopian future, minimising some of the most common harms, placing the responsibility for harms on individuals, and attempting to foster a heightened sense of risk to personal safety.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107346
Number of pages14
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume166
Early online date24 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • commercial determinants of health
  • documentary analysis
  • firearms
  • framing
  • public health

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