WASHINGTON:UW, Gun-Rights Groups Come Together in New Law to Prevent Suicide

April 08, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
Speaker:  Washington

UW Today

On March 31 Washington State passed a bill setting up a task force led by Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention to create suicide prevention messages and training for gun dealers and pharmacists, thereby addressing two leading means of suicide deaths: guns and poisoning. The task force will help integrate suicide prevention education into existing efforts such as gun safety training. Pharmacists will be required to take a six-hour course to be accredited, and gun dealers and range operators will have the option of taking a voluntary online course. The task force will survey gun shop owners to find out what would make them likely to participate. A pilot program will be conducted in two communities where suicide prevention and gun safety education will be combined with distributing safe methods of gun storage and medication disposal. To develop and pass this legislation, a broad range of stakeholders was involved, including Forefront, the National Rifle Association, the Washington gun rights group Second Amendment Foundation, the Seattle Police Department and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “I think a key thing is both sides showed up at the table just being willing to listen, said Jennifer Stuber, co-founder of Forefront. According to Alan Gottlieb, executive director of Second Amendment Foundation, “I have not spoken to any gun retailer in Washington State that doesn’t want to be a part of this…It’s in their interest to do it and they want to do it.”

Spark Extra! For more information on suicide prevention advocates and gun dealers working together, see the SPRC SPARK Talk, Common Ground: Reducing Gun Access