Nearly half (48 percent) of firearm retailers in New Hampshire displayed materials from a firearm suicide prevention campaign generated by a coalition of gun owners and public health professionals, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. It is the first collaboration between firearm retailers and public health professionals around suicide prevention.
The study appeared online October 28, 2014 in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.
Following a spate of suicides in 2009 in New Hampshire involving recently-purchased firearms, the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition initiated a study of the problem and discussed ways in which it could be addressed. Composed of firearms retailers, other firearms rights advocates, and suicide prevention experts, the coalition identified all commercial firearm retailers in the state and conducted structured interviews to discuss the role of firearm access in suicide prevention and obtain input on draft campaign materials.
Packets of final campaign materials for both firearm retailers (providing tips to reduce the odds of selling a firearm to someone who may be suicidal) and their customers (encouraging customers to consider off-site storage if someone at home is suicidal) were mailed to all firearm retailers, and stores were visited unannounced six months later to assess their response to the packets.