In this article, we describe the development of a regional firearm storage network organized by investigators affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs and run by small business, firearm retailers who were also U.S. Veterans.
Three firearm retailers participated as collaborators in the development of a temporary out-of-home storage program and as test sites in a 4-month, uncontrolled pilot. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were collected to assess feasibility, acceptability, fidelity, and program effectiveness.
Data indicated the out-of-home storage program was feasible and acceptable to firearm retailers and their staff. The program led to changes in staff beliefs regarding the role of secure firearm storage in suicide prevention, dispersal of materials about the out-of-home storage program to customers, conversations about secure storage and availability of out-of-home storage, and actual storage of customers’ firearms.
We discuss the potential benefits and limitations of a voluntary out-of-home storage network organized by public health professionals but run by firearm retailers.