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!
The project disseminated materialsaimed both at reducing suicides involving recently-purchased firearms as well as existing household firearms. 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 www.nhfsc.org. 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 www.nhfsc.org or contact us.