Firearm Suicide Prevention

For gun owners, protecting your family involves more than keeping them safe from accident or attack. It also involves being aware of the warning signs of suicide and the steps to prevent it. Together we can protect our family, our friends, and our freedom.

Putting time & distance between a suicidal person and a gun may save a life:
• Guns are the most deadly method of suicide.
• Suicidal crises are often brief.
• 90% of those who survive a suicide attempt will not go on to die by suicide.


Store guns safely and securely when not in use. Change your gun locks if necessary, and make sure the keys and combination aren’t accessible.


Lock guns and ammo separately, or don’t keep ammunition in the home at all. Ask to temporarily keep the keys to any gun of a friend who is struggling.


Temporarily store firearms off site until the situation improves, perhaps at a friend or relative’s house. Gun shops and law enforcement may offer storage options.

Any strategy that builds some time between you and a gun in a suicidal crisis will keep you safer. Temporarily store your guns off site, disassemble them, or lock up at least one component. Ask a friend to hold your keys, or store the keys somewhere they’re not available in a crisis like a bank safe deposit box.

Warning Signs

Pay attention to these warning signs, which are not always obvious. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased. Take any threat of suicide seriously. 

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself.

  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.

  • Talking about feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, or being a burden to others.

  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs.

  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.

  • Sleeping too little or too much.

  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.

  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.

  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

  • Experiencing relational, social, work, or financial loss.

  • Giving away prized possessions.

People who struggle with depression, substance abuse, or other mental heath problems are especially at risk of suicide if they are also facing a painful crisis such as relational, social, work, or financial loss.

Getting Help


National Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741741

When a person calls or texts the Hotline, a Volunteer Phone Worker will offer emotional support, assessment of suicide risk, and crisis intervention to those in imminent danger. The Volunteer Phone Worker provides linkages to local mental health and treatment providers and other services, empowering callers to look at options and make their own decisions. Hotline supervisory staff are available to provide clinical consultation to first responders and mental health professionals.


Your privacy is important. All calls are confidential and anonymous. You will be asked for your permission before giving your information to other organizations that may be able to provide you with assistance. The Hotline complies with the federal privacy requirements of the Health Information Privacy Portability Act (HIPPA) as is required of all health and mental health services providers. If the Hotline believes that you are at imminent risk of suicide, they may contact 9-1-1 to ask them to initiate a rescue effort. 

Idaho Information

Adapted with permission from the Utah Firearm Safety/Suicide Prevention Coalition in partnership with The Speedy Foundation.

The mission of the Means Matter Campaign is to increase the proportion of suicide prevention groups who promote activities that reduce a suicidal person’s access to lethal means of suicide and who develop active partnerships with gun owner groups to prevent suicide.

The Harvard Injury Control Research Center is dedicated to reducing injury through training, research,intervention, evaluation, and dissemination. The Center has published hundreds of studies on injury topics ranging from motor vehicle crashes to alcohol use to youth violence and suicide. The Center is part of the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Means Matter Campaign is funded by The Joyce Foundation and the David Bohnett Foundation.

The information listed above is of great benefit to those in need. The Speedy Foundation strives to provide an up-to-date list of relevant suicide prevention and mental health resources. Please reach out with additional organizations that you've found beneficial or with feedback on these groups: