Voluntary Firearm Storage Programs may help Prevent Suicide Deaths

Voluntary Firearm Storage Programs may help Prevent Suicide Deaths

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: March 8th, 2022

Reducing firearm access during times of crisis is a key component of suicide prevention.  Out-of-home storage is preferred because it puts the most time and space between the at- risk person and firearms, providing an additional layer of safety over in-home storage methods of limiting access to the person at risk.

Colorado and Washington were the first to state to develop Firearm Safe Storage Maps to help a person at risk find an out-of-home storage option. Researchers from the University of Washington, School of Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC) and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, conducted a study interviewing potential storage providers about voluntary storage programs.

“Our teams conducted over 100 interviews with potential storage providers (Firearm ranges/retailers, law enforcements agencies, and state/national organizations) across Colorado and Washington. Many reported back to us a strong desire to help customers or families find temporary out-of-home firearm storage solutions,” said Dr. Fred Rivara, director of the HIPRC Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program, and professor and vice-chair of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Researchers on this study say many locations are willing to offer this firearm storage solution although issues of legal liability, costs and space are potential barriers.

“Firearm storage solutions should be viewed as a tool to help families, not as a way to remove people’s 2nd Amendment rights,” says Dr. Frederick Rivara.

The investigators represented the Department of Emergency Medicine and Department of Cardiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; Injury and Violence Prevention Center, Colorado School of Public Health; VA Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center; University of Washington School of Medicine; Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC) Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program (FIPRP); Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health; Denver Health and Hospital Authority; UW School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology.

This study was published in February 2022 in the Journal of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

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