VERMONT: Vermont Gun Shop Project Addresses Firearm-Related Suicides

March 11, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
Speaker:  Vermont

Brattleboro Reformer

Gun owner groups and the Center for Health and Learning have partnered to create the Vermont Gun Shop Project in an effort to reduce firearm-related suicides. As with the New Hampshire Gun Shop Project, gun shops, gun dealers, and firearms ranges around the state will display suicide prevention posters. In addition, training sessions of 1½ to 2 hours tailored to the needs of the gun-owner community will be provided in both northern and southern Vermont. The goal of the training will be to encourage people to seek help for themselves and loved ones when needed and to clarify what the law says about firearms in relation to mental health issues. According to Ed Cutler, the president of Gun Owners of Vermont, “The big problem now is people are not seeking help because they’re afraid that their firearms are going to be taken away.” Center for Health and Learning program specialist Alexander Potter notes that “Going to a therapist in Vermont is not going to cause you to lose possession of your firearms,” but the training will suggest strategies, such as storing guns with a friend, that will make it more likely that people will seek help. “It’s friends helping friends,” says Cutler. “And with our program, it’s like the buddy system.”

Spark Extra! Learn more about the New Hampshire Gun Shop Project, on which the Vermont Gun Shop Project was modeled. And, watch the SPARK Talk video on the same topic.