October 19, 2020

visitors approach a booth with volunteers at a park

Forefront volunteers talk about firearm safety at the Safer Night Out community event in Walla Walla in August 2019.Forefront Suicide Prevention/University of Washington

Talking to people at gun shows about suicide prevention and the risks of unsecured firearms can lead to safe weapons storage, according to a new study.

The research by Forefront Suicide Prevention at the University of Washington, from visits to 18 gun shows and other community events around Washington state last year, found that engaging people in a community-based setting, in an empathetic conversation focused on safety, resulted in more people locking up their firearms.

The results are promising, lead author and Forefront co-founder Jennifer Stuber said, because they show that meeting people where they’re at, physically and psychologically, can lead to behavior change that can prevent tragedy.

“We need to be educating people who own firearms or are considering purchasing them that suicide is a possible risk to take into consideration and to make plans in advance to mitigate these risks. So