An Examination of Preferred Messengers On Firearm Safety for Suicide Prevention

Document Type


Publication Date



This study sought to determine differences in preferred messengers on the topic of safe firearm storage and suicide prevention between firearm owners and non-firearm owners, and among firearm owners of different racial groups and sexes. Participants were 6200 United States residents recruited via Qualtrics Panels to complete an online survey. Data were collected during March 2020. The total sample and all subsamples ranked law enforcement, current military personnel, and military veterans as the top three most credible sources to discuss firearm safety for suicide prevention. Significant differences existed among the mean ranking of sources between firearm owners and non-firearm owners as well as between several subgroups of firearm owners. The identical ranking of the top three sources indicates that these groups agree on the relative credibility of multiple sources, although the average level of credibility for particular sources may vary. These findings highlight that the effectiveness of messaging on safe firearm storage may hinge on the identity of the individual delivering the message and provide an initial roadmap for how to consider packaging specific messages.

Find in your library