Safe Firearm Storage Saves Lives


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As a Veteran, or the loved one of a Veteran, you want to take every precaution to protect those around you when in crisis. VA’s Acting Director for Suicide Prevention, Dr. Matt Miller, explains in this thought leadership article for Inside Sources that safe firearm storage practices can more than cut in half the chances a friend, co-worker, child, or other family member dies by suicide.

“There is no single cause for suicide. But safe firearm storage practices, such as storing a firearm locked and unloaded when it is not in use, can decrease the risk for suicide by limiting access during times of distress,” wrote Miller, who co-authored the piece with Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Steve Sanetti, CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

By taking this simple step, Veterans and their loved ones can put crucial time and space between suicidal thoughts and seeking out a firearm. “Research has shown that the period of acute suicide risk is often brief,” Miller, Gebbia, and Sanetti wrote. “It is a myth that a person who wants to die by suicide will find a way to do so. If a lethal means such as a firearm is unavailable at the time of emotional crisis, the attempt may be prevented.”

In 2017, firearms were used in nearly half of all suicides among Americans and nearly 70% of Veteran suicide deaths. One study showed that people who kept their firearms locked or unloaded were at least 60% less likely to die from the last tragic act of suicide compared to those who stored their firearms either unlocked, loaded, or both.

Best practices

To learn more about safe storage best practices, please download this brochure from VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Friends and family of Veterans can use this guide to learn helpful tips for having a conversation with at-risk Veterans about safe storage practices.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

Reporters covering this issue can download VA’s Safe Messaging Best Practices fact sheet or visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.org for important guidance on how to communicate about suicide.


Clairmont J. Barnes, Jr is the Deputy Director, Partnerships & Community Relations for VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Author

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Comments

  1. James P Leahy    

    Agreed but I think the size of the cable would prevent the cylinder locking into place therefore the loaded rounds so I don’t think the rounds would actually fire. I keep a semi in a hand safe in the bedroom everything else is in the safe. Maybe I’ll check it out tomorrow with a revolver.

  2. Frank    

    That Firearm is not properly secured. With the lock installed as pictured it still can be loaded and fired. That type of lock should be installed through the barrel. Recommend correcting.

    1. L. Bybee    

      I’m not the most knowledgeable person regarding firearms, but wouldn’t the cylinder need to be fully latched in place (prevented from that by cable lock) for the revolver to fire?

      I agree through the barrel would be better, but the way it is placed in the photo would appear to prevent firing a round.

  3. Laporan percobaan    

    In 2017, firearms were used in nearly half of all suicides among Americans and nearly 70% of Veteran suicide deaths. One study showed that people who kept their firearms locked or unloaded were at least 60% less likely to die from the last tragic act of suicide compared to those who stored their firearms either unlocked, loaded, or both.

  4. joseph ubi    

    Nice awareness, fire arms should be properly kept and avoid any eye contact by children.

Comments are closed.