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Gun retailers as storage partners for suicide prevention: what barriers need to be overcome?
  1. Lauren A Pierpoint1,
  2. Gregory J Tung2,
  3. Ashley Brooks-Russell3,
  4. Sara Brandspigel1,
  5. Marian Betz4,
  6. Carol W Runyan1
  1. 1 Department of Epidemiology, University of Colorado—Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  2. 2 Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy, University of Colorado—Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  3. 3 Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Colorado—Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  4. 4 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  1. Correspondence to Lauren A Pierpoint, Department of Epidemiology, University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora CO 80045, USA; lauren.pierpoint{at}


Introduction Safe storage of guns outside the household while someone is at risk for suicide is important for suicide prevention. Some gun retailers offer temporary firearm storage as a community resource. Others may be willing if perceived barriers can be addressed.

Methods We invited all gun retailers in eight Mountain West states to respond to a questionnaire about the barriers they perceive in offering temporary, voluntary gun storage for community members.

Results Ninety-five retailers responded (25% response rate). Fifty-eight percent believed federal laws make it harder to store guns and 25% perceived state laws to be obstacles. Over 60% cited legal liability in storing and returning guns as barriers. Other important barriers included cost, space and logistical issues of drop off and pick up.

Conclusions Strategies to reduce legal and other barriers will need to be addressed to better engage gun retailers as a community resource for safe gun storage.

  • firearm
  • suicide/self?harm
  • legislation
  • surveys

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  • Contributors LAP took the lead on writing the manuscript and data analysis. CWR conceptualised the study. GJT, ABR, SB, MB and CWR all contributed to the critical revision of the manuscript and provided content-area expertise.

  • Funding National Institute of Mental Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Colorado multiple institutional review board (#14-1644).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.