Pueblo gun shop owners joining suicide prevention efforts

PUEBLO, Colo. — A new industry is at the forefront of curbing suicides.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has been working with gun shops and they say the response has been encouraging.

CDPHE says they partner with firearm advocates who are already trusted members of the firearm community. They encourage gun shop owners to carry suicide prevention material and post signs around their shops.

About 50 percent of suicides are caused with a firearm, but if you turn the numbers around and look at all gun deaths in Colorado, nearly 80 percent of those are suicides, according to the CDPHE.

Epie Martinez has owned Silver Gun Sports out in Blende for more than 22 years.

Now Martinez is at the forefront of working with CDPHE suicide efforts.

Sarah Brummett, M.A., J.D. Office of Suicide Prevention Director with the Violence and Injury Prevention-Mental Health Promotion Branch at CDPHE, said many gun owners are on board with the program, because they keep politics out of it.

“We’re not talking about, gun control, we’re not talking about Second Amendment concerns, we’re talking about firearm safety; which is already at the core of firearm ownership,” said Brummett.

The program started three years ago in Colorado but just took off in Pueblo and El Paso Counties.

“Someone who may be at risk for suicide or feeling suicidal, making sure that during a point of crisis, that they don’t have access to lethal means. Putting distance between them and a fire arm can save their life,” Brummett said.

Martinez has no problem backing the project.

“It creates conversation and I think that’s how we start to solve problems,” said Martinez.

However, Brummett said not every business is willing to do the same.

“Suicide in general is a hard topic to talk about. So there are definitely owners or managers that are not quite comfortable having that topic in their shop, yet,” said Brummett.

“It’s possible it may help. If it saved one life, its worth putting it in the store,” Martinez said.

If you or a loved one needs help, you can get support at the resources below:

1-800-273-TALK (8255) Suicide Prevention Lifeline or
1-844-493-TALK (8255) Colorado Crisis & Support Line.
Learn the risk and warning signs of someone who maybe contemplating suicide.

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