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.
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.
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.
Suggestions for how to improve outreach to firearm retailers to enhance suicide prevention efforts are discussed.