Seattle, WA (Oct, 11, 2022) – A free Firearm Injury Toolkit was unveiled this week to help more states find voluntary firearm storage sites while setting up online support maps that will help save lives.
The toolkit was created by researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Injury Violence Prevention Center Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative, in collaboration with the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center’s Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program (FIPRP) at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
“Storing firearms outside the home can become relevant in many scenarios,” said Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, director of the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who led the research and toolkit development. “Examples include when someone in the home is at risk of suicide, a visitor to the home is prohibited from firearm possession, grandkids are visiting, homeowners are taking an extended trip or military deployment or when owners are renting or selling a home.”
Online state maps showing locations willing to provide firearm storage are a new intervention designed to link community members to options for voluntary out-of-home firearm storage. Colorado was the first state to create a map in 2018 followed closely behind Washington state in 2019. Today eight states have at least partial maps available online.
The new toolkit was created following a two-year research project that examined the perspectives and preferences of retailers, ranges, law enforcement agencies, firearm owners, and groups who had made or were considering creating maps.
The research was supported through the National Institutes of Health firearm-related funding – an example of how research can lead to nonpartisan, community-based interventions to prevent injury and death. The firearm storage maps were highlighted by the White House in 2021 as an approach for suicide prevention.
“In most states in the nation, the majority of deaths form firearms are suicides,” according to Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH who led the University of Washington in this collaboration. “Use of firearms result in death in 90% of individuals attempting suicide, so firearms are an important focus of limiting access to lethal means for individuals and families in crisis.”
The online kit is designed to support community organizations, community coalitions, injury or suicide prevention organizations, academic programs focusing on injury/suicide prevention, and other groups seeking to promote voluntary, temporary firearm storage. It includes background on the rationale for out-of-home storage along with step-by-step guidance on how to find storage locations, make and publicize a Google map. It also includes sample storage agreements and links to currently available maps.
“Voluntary, temporary out-of-home storage of guns can be a life-saving option for firearm owners, and we hope this toolkit will help other cities and states develop resources to help their communities,” said Betz.
The goal of the FIPRP at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington School of Medicine is to reduce firearm injuries and death through work on suicide, safe storage of firearms, domestic violence, examination of the effectiveness of legislation and policy, and other issues. FIPRP is a nonpartisan organization that does not advocate or endorse any particular viewpoint.
If you or someone you know is in need of support and live in King County, please contact Crisis Connections at (866)427-4747. If you need help finding resources, please contact King County 2-1-1 at (800)621-4636. For assistance outside of King County, please contact the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or text the National Crisis Line at 9-8-8.
For help with substance use treatment, please call the Washington Recovery Help Line at (866)789-1511. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)799-7233 or (800)787-3224 (TTY). If you are a Veteran, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at (800)273-8255 or text at 838255.
UW Medicine Media Contact: Susan Gregg, 206-616-6730; firstname.lastname@example.org