Voluntary, temporary, out-of-home firearm storage: A qualitative study of stakeholder views

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2022 Aug;52(4):655-667. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12850. Epub 2022 Feb 28.


Background: Reducing firearm access during times of risk is a key component of suicide prevention, including the person at risk voluntarily, temporarily storing firearms outside the home. However, this approach relies on the participation of storage providers (ranges/retailers and law enforcement agencies (LEAs)). Our objective was to describe stakeholders' views and experiences surrounding voluntary, temporary out-of-home firearm storage for suicide prevention.

Method: We conducted individual interviews with (1) firearm ranges/retailers; (2) LEAs (in Colorado or Washington State); and (3) state/national organizations involved in policy development or enactment; public health; or firearm rights. Transcripts were analyzed using a team-based mixed inductive-deductive approach.

Results: Across 100 interviews (October-May 2021), potential storage providers were supportive of voluntary storage programs, often reporting a desire to help their customers and community. However, potential storage suppliers cited civil liability, regulatory, and legal concerns associated with storing and/or returning firearms (to people who had previously expressed suicide risk). Stakeholders offered suggested strategies meant to address liability and increase storage accessibility.

Conclusions: Understanding stakeholder views supports the development of acceptable, feasible programs for out-of-home firearm storage during times of suicide risk. Clarification of existing regulations or creation of new policies is necessary to address potential providers' concerns.

Keywords: community-based interventions; lethal means; stakeholder engagement; suicide prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorado
  • Firearms*
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Suicide Prevention*