Volume 42, Issue 5 (September 1997)
Three Cases of Fatal Firearm Use Following External Hinge Removal from Locked Gun Cabinets
In order to potentially decrease the number of homicides and suicides that result from firearms, one must decrease the accessibility of guns. We describe three cases that were obtained from the Onondaga County Medical Examiners Office in New York that occurred between January 1990 to March 1993. In two suicides and a double homicide, firearms were quietly obtained from commercially manufactured locked gun cabinets by removing the door hinges, which were located on the outside of the cabinet, with a screwdriver.
The incidence of obtaining firearms by this method is not known. No other similar cases are reported in the literature. Removing hinges that are placed on the outside of the cabinet may be a common method of obtaining firearms to commit either homicide or suicide in the home, but perhaps not recognized. More information is needed. If additional cases are identified, then prevention in terms of gun cabinet design, may save lives in the future.