Gun Shop Project

Suicide Prevention: A Role for Firearm Dealers and Range Owners

Means Matter began working in 2009 on a novel project in New Hampshire to reach out to gun shops on the role that they can play in suicide prevention. The work is guided by the NH Firearm Safety Coalition, a group of mental health and public health practitioners, firearm retailers, and firearm rights advocates. The project developed materials with and for firearm retailers and range owners on ways they can help prevent suicide. Its objectives are to:

  • Share guidelines on how to avoid selling or renting a firearm to a suicidal customer
  • Encourage gun stores and firing ranges to display and distribute suicide prevention materials tailored to their customers

Half of the gun shops in New Hampshire are disseminating the materials, according to visits to all shops in 2011/2. And the project is now nationwide:



The project disseminated materials aimed both at reducing suicides involving recently-purchased firearms as well as existing household firearms. (Materials include a poster, brochure, and tip sheet, below.) Our role in the coalition has been as research partner to study the issue, to survey the gun shop owners before and after the campaign (to solicit input and measure impact– over half of the commercial gun shops in the state were interviewed beforehand, and all were visited afterward), and to develop the materials for the campaign (with the exception of the video, which others took the lead on). The campaign products (disseminated in August 2011) and related press coverage are available at 48% of commercial firearm retailers in NH are displaying at least one product developed by the coalition.

Discussions with gun owners in the coalition and dealers around the state were invaluable; we are seeking funding to provide technical assistance to other suicide prevention groups around the country who express interest in starting up similar projects. For more information about this project including links to the poster and brochure shown below please visit or contact us.

Statewide Program Links + Contact Information

COLORADO: Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition

MARYLAND: The Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association Suicide Prevention Project

MASSACHUSETTS: Suicide Prevention Task Force

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Firearms Safety Coalition 

  • The New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition
  • Contact: Elaine Frank,

NEW YORK (1): Putnam County Suicide Prevention Task Force

NEW YORK (2): Ulster County SPEAK: Suicide Prevention, Education Awareness and Knowledge 

TENNESSEE: Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network

TEXAS: Mental Health America of Texas

VERMONT: Gun Owners of Vermont and Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs

VIRGINIA: Lock and Talk 

WASHINGTON: Safe Homes Task Force

WISCONSIN: Safe Communities


Gun Shop Poster


gunshopbrochurecover (gun_shop_brochure_cover.jpg)

Tip Sheet