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101 The effect of extreme risk protection orders on the concept of voluntary out-of-home firearm storage: results from a qualitative study in two states
  1. Leslie Barnard1,2,
  2. Chris Knoepke3,
  3. Megan McCarthy2,
  4. Bonnie Siry-Bove2,
  5. Rachel Johnson4,
  6. Sara Brandspigel5,
  7. Lauren Rooney6,
  8. Marian Betz2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, USA
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, USA
  3. 3Division of Cardiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, USA
  4. 4Department of Biostatistics and Informatics, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, USA
  5. 5Injury and Violence Prevention Center, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, USA
  6. 6Firearm Injury Policy and Research Center, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, USA


Statement of Purpose Reducing firearm access during crisis can prevent suicide. Multiple states have developed storage maps identifying locations for voluntary, temporary out-of-home firearm storage. Non-voluntary options such as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) allow designated ‘petitioners’ to request temporary restriction of firearm access for someone with imminent risk of harm to self or others. However, ERPO laws have been controversial, and their implementation occurred at the same time as voluntary programs. We sought to understand how ERPO laws impact views of voluntary storage options.

Methods/Approach Between 10/2020 and 5/2021, the study team interviewed stakeholders in Colorado and Washington State, including firearm ranges and retailers, law enforcement agencies (LEAs), and public health and firearm rights organizations. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and recorded. We used a mixed deductive and inductive approach to code transcripts and analyzed coded data to identify dominant themes.

Results We conducted 95 interviews with 100 participants (31 firearm retailers/ranges, 17 LEAs, 52 organizations). Themes about the effect of ERPOs on voluntary, temporary firearm storage were views or concerns that: (1) ERPOs further alienate those who might have sought or offered voluntary storage by (a) putting all parties (LEA and firearm owners) at risk of physical harm during enforcement and (b) their potential to be used inappropriately, and (2) voluntary storage providers may or may not be willing to store firearms resulting from an ERPO.

Conclusion While both voluntary and non-voluntary firearm storage approaches can be used to reduce firearm suicide risk, the simultaneous presence of both options can raise challenges. Our study suggests the need to clearly distinguish between voluntary and non-voluntary storage.

Significance Understanding stakeholder views on voluntary and non-voluntary storage options support development of acceptable and feasible programs for out-of-home firearm storage during times of suicide risk.

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