Guns shows are estimated to account for 4–9% of firearm sales in the US. Increased regulation of firearm sales at gun shows has been proposed as one approach to reducing firearm injury rates. This study evaluated the association between gun shows and local firearm injury rates. Data regarding the date and location of gun shows from 2017 to 2019 were abstracted from the Big Show Journal. Firearm injury rates were estimated using discharges from trauma centers serving counties within a 25-mile radius of each gun show. Clinical data were derived from the National Trauma Databank (NTDB). We used Poisson regression modeling to adjust for potential confounders including seasonality. We evaluated injury rates before and after 259 gun shows in 23 US locations using firearm injury data from 36 trauma centers. There were 1513 hospitalizations for firearm injuries pre-gun show and 1526 post-gun show. The adjusted mean 2-week rate of all-cause firearm injury per 1,000,000 person-years was 1.79 (1.16–2.76) before and 1.82 (1.18–2.83) after a gun show, with an incident rate ratio of 1.02 (0.94, 1.08). The adjusted mean 2-week rate did not vary significantly by intent after a gun show, (p = 0.24).
Within two weeks after a gun show, rates of hospitalization for all-cause firearm injury do not increase significantly within the surrounding communities. The relatively small increase in available firearms after a show and the short time horizon evaluated may account for the absence of an association between gun show firearm sales and local firearm injury rates.