TSPN’s Gun Safety Project is a statewide program intended to share materials, developed by and for firearm retailers and range owners, on ways they can help prevent suicide. Our objectives are
- Sharing guidelines with gun store/firing range owners about how to avoid selling or renting a firearm to a suicidal customer
- Encouraging gun stores and firing ranges to display and distribute suicide prevention materials tailored to their customers
In any given year, firearms are involved in roughly 600 suicide deaths in Tennessee—two-thirds of all the suicide deaths reported in our state each year. Additionally there are about 25 accidental firearm deaths in Tennessee each year, along with about 1,700 accidental shootings requiring emergency medical attention.
While attending the 2012 American Association of Suicidology conference, TSPN staff attended a workshop presented by the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition (NHFSC). They spoke about their firearms safety project, which was started in 2009 and had received considerable buy-in from local gun shop owners—several of whom reported preventing a potential suicide thanks to the information the Coalition provided. TSPN appreciated the concept of a firearm suicide prevention project that did not focus on gun control.
TSPN subsequently began a dialogue with NHFSC regarding replication of the project in Tennessee, and worked with them to adapt the project to our state. TSPN presented the idea to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and received their endorsement for the program.
The Gun Safety Project was also approved by the Advocacy Committee of TSPN’s governor-appointed Advisory Council. The Advocacy Committee is planning to consult with gun store and firing range owners regarding the fine-tuning and perpetuation of the project.
TSPN worked closely with the Coalition to adapt their materials for the state and people of Tennessee. The New Hampshire materials, in turn, were developed with considerable consultation and feedback from gun shop and firing range owners in that state.
The materials used in TSPN’s Gun Safety project are designed to help gun shop and firing range owners and employees identify and address potentially suicidal customers. The products urge them to be alert for signs of suicide among family and friends, to know where to call for help (1-800-273- TALK ) and to make sure that guns are not available to those in a suicidal crisis.
All of our materials are available for free download.
Links of Interest
This means reduction training for gun dealers is facilitated by Paul Quinnett, Ph.D., founder of the QPR Institute, an internationally recognized suicide prevention agency. Dr. Quinnett was also the back page editor for Shooting Times Magazine from 1988 to 1995. (The video is approximately 30 minutes in length).
This five-minute promotional video for the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition outlines the purpose and objectives of their firearm safety program.
Several other organizations have expressed adapting these materials for use in their own states. If you are interested, please contact Elaine Frank at [email protected] or (603) 653-8360 to discuss next steps. You may also refer to the Coalition website.
For more information about TSPN’s Gun Safety Project, please contact Scott Ridgway, MS, TSPN Executive Director, at [email protected] or (615) 297-1077.