Objective: Firearms are a highly lethal and commonly used means of suicide. Firearm retailers may be an important group of community members to train as they guide sales and have conversations about firearm-related laws and safety issues with customers. This study presents findings from the largest survey to date of independently owned firearm retailers (n = 178) in Washington State with the goal of ascertaining the extent of willingness to engage in suicide prevention efforts and factors that may underlie willingness.
Methods: Descriptive analyses and logistic regressions assess factors related to self-reported willingness to engage in suicide prevention activities guided by a well-tested theoretical model.
Results: Respondents are unaware that suicide is the leading type of firearm fatality and have high levels of exposure to suicide in their personal and professional lives. The majority endorse a willingness to learn and engage in suicide prevention activities. Knowledge about warning signs of suicide and beliefs about the preventability of suicide are predictive of a willingness to engage in prevention efforts. Reluctance to discuss personal issues with customers is negatively associated with willingness to engage in prevention efforts.
Conclusions: Suggestions for how to improve outreach to firearm retailers to enhance suicide prevention efforts are discussed.
© 2019 The American Association of Suicidology.