AURORA, Colo. — Local university faculty members have created the first online out-of-home firearm storage map in the United States.
Faculty members with the Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus said this new tool, called the Colorado Gun Storage Map, can help improve safety and prevent suicide. Using the map, community members in a crisis can pick where they want to temporarily and voluntarily keep their firearm.
The locations include law enforcement agencies, firearm retailers shooting ranges and special storage facilities. Many college campus safety departments also offer gun storage.
The Colorado Gun Storage Map was developed in collaboration with the Colorado Safety Coalition, which is a group of gun shop owners, firearm trainers and public health researchers with a shared goal of preventing suicide.
The map is accessible to the public through the Colorado Safety Coalition website. It includes contact information for each location.
Currently, 15 law enforcement agencies and almost 50 gun shop owners around the state will consider community members’ requests for firearm storage.
Sara Brandspigel, assistant director for the Program for Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) at the Colorado School of Public Health, said when somebody is at risk of suicide, the safest option is to store guns away from where they live until the situation stabilizes.
“Our goal with creating this resource is to improve community safety and prevent suicide by reducing the time it takes for people to find and reach out to local storage options, which is a challenging landscape to navigate,” she said.
In 2017, Colorado had the 10th highest rate of suicide, according to CU Anschutz, and half of those involved a firearm. In cases where adolescents died by firearm suicide, more than 80 percent of the young people used a gun that belonged to a family member.
Jacquelyn Clark, owner of Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center in Lakewood, said finding a safe place to store a firearm in a crisis situation can add a lot of stress to an already stressful situation.
“We have room at our facility to house a moderate number of firearms just for storage purposes and are committed to being good community partners,” she said. “It makes sense to offer our facility as a resource to families who may need temporary storage at an affordable rate.”
Gun owners can also keep their firearms at these locations for other reasons, including when they are traveling, hosting visitors or selling the home.
If you or somebody you know is need in support, contact the Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255. You can also visit Colorado Crisis Services’s website to chat online.