FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2021
- As gun violence and injury in America continues, a new community awareness campaign has launched to encourage gun owners to safely store their guns.
- For someone in crisis or a child who does not understand the harm a firearm can cause, a safely stored firearm can mean the difference between a tragic outcome and a life saved.
- Resources for safely storing firearms, recognizing suicide warning signs, what to do, and where to find help are available at www.BeGunSafe.org
Santa Clara County -- Safely storing guns can help prevent tragedies, including suicides. In the moment of a mental health crisis, more time and space between a person and a gun can make all the difference. Taking a few moments to safely store firearms can give a person acting on impulse time to change their mind and get the help they need.
Recognizing that suicide is impulsive and preventable, the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) launched a community awareness effort to encourage the safe storage of guns. The primary audience is middle-aged men, who account for higher numbers of suicides by firearm in Santa Clara County.
“I don’t leave my chainsaw lying around so someone could pick it up and hurt themselves, and I wouldn’t leave my gun lying around for the same reason,” said Pete, a local gun owner. “When someone has suicidal thoughts, they may be fleeting thoughts. The few moments of the additional time it takes to spin the dial on the safe could be all that is needed. Safely storing guns could save a life.”
Free firearm safety kits are available through Project Child Safe, a program from the National Shooting Sports Foundation to promote firearm safety and education. Also, veterans can get free gun locks by request at any Veterans Administration location.
Launched on December 6th, this comprehensive effort from the BHSD’s Suicide Prevention Program encourages safe firearm storage to help prevent suicide. It will run for seven weeks in several formats and on multiple outlets:
- videos featuring stories from local gun owners who have experience with suicides
- local radio station ads, digital ads, YouTube video
- geofencing ads to reach people at local gun ranges and gun stores
- a webpage specifically about safe storage, suicide prevention and resources: www.BeGunSafe.org