Creation of Online Maps for Voluntary Out-of-Home Firearm Storage

Creation of Online Maps for Voluntary Out-of-Home Firearm Storage

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: March 15th, 2023

A new study published February 2023 in Preventative Medicine Reports evaluates what people think about temporary, voluntary out-of-home firearm storage.

Online maps showing locations for voluntary, temporary firearm storage are a novel approach in suicide and injury prevention. Researchers from University of Colorado and University of Washington, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (Firearm Injury Prevention & Policy Research Program) interviewed leaders from six additional states with maps and six without. 

Prior work demonstrated the desire of firearm retailers/ranges and LEAs to be involved in suicide prevention efforts; this work extends knowledge about practical considerations for out-of-home firearm storage.

Themes found were among those interviewed included:

  • Trust and Partnerships: Across states, interviewees spoke of considerations about which organizations they partnered with – or not – in making and hosting the map. These considerations related to the ability to encourage retailer participation, to publicize the map, and to have its intentions trusted by the firearms community
  • Legal Issues: Participants consistently noted the issue of liability during storage or after return to the owner. Individuals making maps were generally not familiar themselves with the specifics related to liability or firearm transfers
  • States without Maps: Participants noted the importance of keeping maps updated and staying in contact with storage sites. They noted uncertainty about how to do this without funding.
  • Funding: Participants had generally created maps with donated time or as student projects

Researchers suggest this study may not be generalized to all regions, but may provide insights for future programmatic work and research. Such future work might include expansion of efforts to other states, development of multi-state or national networks, and attention to logistic and legal considerations.

Funding for this work was made possible by: National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Mental Health (R61MH125754); NIH/NHLBI Grant Number K23 HL153892 (Knoepke); American Heart Association Grant Number 18CDA34110026 (Knoepke). 

Investigators on this study represent: Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Cardiology, and Adult & Child Consortium for Outcomes Research & Delivery Science at the School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; VA Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center; Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health; Firearm Injury Policy and Research Program, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine; Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public health.