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Preventing Firearm Suicides

We know suicide is preventable. There is a common misconception that if someone wants to die by suicide, they will. Research shows this is not true and in fact, suicide is preventable. Once suicidal ideation passes, most people — over 90% — continue with their lives. 



Firearms represent the leading cause of suicide death in Oregon, with more than half of all suicides by firearm.

Research shows one of the most important things we can do if we are worried about someone dying by suicide is talk to them about it. Research shows directly asking people whether they are considering suicide decreases their risk. Lines for Life, a suicide prevention organization in Oregon, provides resources to help guide these conversations.


Research also shows that most people who die by firearm suicide saw a doctor within 90 days before they died. One education campaign the Oregon Alliance is working on is working with doctors to improve screening for suicide and to help people at risk develop safety plans for themselves and their families, including creating a plan to have a loved one or friend temporarily store their firearm. Join the Alliance and support our campaign.


Text or call Lines for Life at 988 if you or someone you know needs immediate help.


Sometimes, supporting someone in crisis means temporarily making sure their is space between the person and their firearms. Sometimes, this can happen informally, if a family member has a place to securely store firearms in a locked safe the person does not have access to.


In Oregon, we also have a law that allows a family member or a law enforcement officer to petition the court to have guns removed from individuals who are believed to be a danger to themselves (or others). This process also keeps these individuals from purchasing new guns and it stays in effect for a year. 


Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) also protect the rights of gun owners by providing due process. ERPO respondents can request a hearing before the court makes a decision. 

ERPOs happen in civil court, which means they do not have a long term effect on a person’s record.


To find information about how to file for an ERPO or to find additional support on other types of protective orders, visit this website.


More than 80 percent of youth suicides involving a gun belonged to a family member — most often a parent. And, over ⅔ of the time, the firearm was unlocked and unsecured.  Suicide attempts by guns are the most lethal because there is rarely a second chance. While suicide attempts are the same across firearm owning and non-firearm owning households, suicide rates are 4x higher in houses with guns because of their lethality. 


This is why it’s so important to securely store firearms.

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By storing guns securely - unloaded and locked up - we can save lives and join together to protect our kids and other youth in our community.
Today, biometric safes make it possible to store firearms where they can be quickly accessed, but prevent any unauthorized access.
Did you know many law enforcement agencies distribute free gun safes? Search for a free firearm safe in your community.

Learn how to talk to family and friends about secure storage.

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