Gun shops work together to bring suicide prevention program to ranges

Gun shops join forces to talk suicide prevention
Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-04 20:35:38-04

LAKEWOOD, Colo -- A handful of gun shop owners around Denver are teaming up to talk about suicide prevention. 

Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The CDC said more people die in the U.S. from suicides by guns than homicides. Just this week, Douglas County deputies responded to a suicidal man armed with a gun.

A spokesperson for the department said he began shooting at officers when they arrived at his home before he drove more than a mile away where he once again began firing.

He was shot and killed in the exchange, a detective was seriously injured.

“It's a difficult subject,” said Jacqueline Clark, who owns Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center in Lakewood, “but when you really think about it, we can make a difference.”

Clark and her husband chose to join the Colorado Gun Shop Project after hearing from an owner at another shop in town.

They met with ER doctors and state workers who deal with suicide prevention campaigns.

“We've got a variety of political opinions and everybody really comes together to work hard to make the effort successful,” said Clark.

The project is already spreading across gun shops in the U.S.

Clark’s employees are all trained to notice signs of suicide risk.

If a customer seems distraught, eager to buy any gun without asking too many questions and causes her employees to doubt their intentions, they’re told not to make the sale.

“We're the ones selling firearms,” she said, “and if we can identify the people that shouldn't have them, that can prevent a lot of problems right there.”

Clark also has a poster and several pamphlets directed toward gun owners and what they can do to help a family member who may be suicidal.

She also encourages customers to buy locks and lockers to store guns away from anyone at risk.

“Suicide is a major problem in the country,” said Larry Pate, a regular at Bristlecone, “so any kind of prevention, education is always good.”

Clark said other gun shop owners in the area have expressed interest in joining the program and hopes to get more signed on this year.

“Even just one person, if we were able to make a difference,” said Clark, “would mean everything.”


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