Share this to:

Support & Insight for the Autumn of Life

Guns & Dementia

Disabled Gun (Courtesy:

Two things are true about elderly Americans: they are the most likely citizens to own a gun and the most likely patients to have dementia. How great a danger does this really pose? What should be done about it?

In the United States the debate around gun ownership often focuses on teenagers; however, research shows that elderly Americans are the most likely to own a gun. They are also the segment of the population most likely to have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

That presents both medical and legal problems for physicians and carers.

Writing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Dr. Ellen Pinholt explores these issues and proposes a series of ‘red flag’ questions which caregivers must ask.

While there is no upper age limit on owning a firearm, Americans aged over 65 have the highest prevalence of dementia, depression and suicide. Federal law prohibits mentally incompetent persons from possessing a gun; however, this only applies to a formal finding by a court and not necessarily to a physician’s diagnosis of dementia.

Using a series of case studies to explore the medical and legal dimensions of the issue, Dr. Pinholt suggests ‘5 L’s’, questions about gun ownership which should be asked as routinely as questions about driving.

The 5 L’s

The following are a paraphrasing of the ‘5 L’s’:

  1. If there is a gun present is it Locked?
  2. Is it Loaded?
  3. Are Little children present?
  4. Does the gun owner feel Low or depressed?
  5. Is the gun owner Learned and dementia-free?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
June 10, 2014 10:17 pm

Agism is a bad avenue to take for gun confiscation..

Virtual Viscosity
Virtual Viscosity
Reply to  Ralph
June 11, 2014 1:20 am

My Dad is 93 years old. The last thing he needs is a gun. I got rid of them all.

October 17, 2014 9:38 am

The article you wrote on really is going to give people value. I really like your blog and you provide us a great information. Thank You!

Jose form Hubnames
Jose form Hubnames
March 1, 2016 5:07 am

Love this post. You said right: they are the most likely citizens to own a gun and the most likely patients to have dementia

mortal kombat x
mortal kombat x
April 18, 2016 3:48 am

Amaze! I have been looking bing for hours because of this and i also in the end think it is in this article! Maybe I recommend you something helps me all the time? Here's it

B. Berger

B. Berger

Visit Our Pages On:


This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor


Horses Improve Life with Dementia
A University of California at Davis study examines how connection, through activities with horses, improves life with...
Love Never Forgets at the Ruvo Center
Verna and Jerry Kinersly were happily married for nearly 68 years. See why they were glad to have found the Lou Ruvo ...
white bed comforter set and brown wooden bed frame beside brown wooden nightstand
Intermittent Fasting Improves Alzheimer’s in the Lab
A new study from researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine has shown in mice that it is po...
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
News, Treatments, Care Tips

Subscribe To The Weekly Newsletter

videos & articles on Research & Prevention
News to Get at the Truth

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter