Online toolkit aims to intervene in firearm injury, death


picture of a hand opening a gun safe
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The researchers’ goal is to promote safety among households where guns are kept.

A new digital online toolkit focuses on critical interventions to support individuals in crisis. In the United States, only Washington makes these three interventions available:

  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders
  • Washington Firearm Safe Storage Map
  • Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights

University of Washington faculty at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center created this toolkit not only to directly help people in need, but also to inform care providers and law-enforcement agencies to help individuals who feel suicidal.

Accompanying videos explain each intervention, and topic-specific fliers are informative resources for individuals, families and agencies.

“We’re really talking about gun safety and how can we prevent people from being inappropriately harmed by a firearm kept in a home,” said Dr. Frederick Rivara, professor of pediatrics and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the UW schools of Medicine and Public Health. He also directs the Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program.

The program created Washington’s Firearm Safe Storage Map, which helps people in crisis to identify the nearest options to temporarily store firearms, immediately making their homes safer.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), which state legislators approved in 2016, allow families, household members and law-enforcement officials to petition a judge for an order to restrict an individual’s possession and purchase of firearms when there is demonstrated evidence that the person poses a significant danger to themselves or others.

A Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights (Voluntary Do-Not-Sell) allows individuals to proactively, confidentially, and immediately restrict their own ability to buy firearms.

The three strategies can help reduce firearm-related deaths and injuries, Rivara suggested.

Partners for this project include the King County Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit and Forefront Suicide Prevention, a UW Center of Excellence.

The Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program is a nonpartisan organization.

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