Massachusetts Medical Society: Firearm Safety Resources

Firearm Safety Resources


Firearms: Screening, Suicide Prevention, Community Engagement

In 2020, 42% of US households reported owning a firearm. While access to firearms is associated with increased risk for injury and death, safe firearm storage is associated with decreased risk. Clinicians need information on how to appropriately screen for self-harm or harm to others by firearms when talking to their patients about guns and gun safety. When a patient answers positively about a gun in the home and expresses concerns about themselves or those with whom they live, clinicians must know how to advise, direct, and refer. Primary care physicians are often the de facto mental health professional and must address patients with concerns about suicidal ideation by loved ones. Having relationships in the community and knowledge of resources expands the scope of care for patients and their families and friends. This program will provide insight and solid solutions for caring for patients while addressing firearm safety.

This free, online CME program is available at

Counseling on Access to Lethal Means, offered by Zero Suicide, is a two-hour course taken at one’s own pace for mental health professionals, healthcare providers, and others on how work with those at risk for suicide and their families to reduce access.

Printable Materials

The fliers below provide information on firearm safety for physicians and other healthcare experts and for patients.


Dr. Michael Hirsh underscores why physicians should be prepared to counsel patients about firearm safety.

Other Organizations and Initiatives

  • The American Public Health Association: Gun Violence Information
    Information on ameliorating gun violence from a public health approach.
  • AFFIRM – American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine
    AFFIRM is a non-profit corporation comprised of physician leaders who seek to diminish the human and financial costs of firearm injury in the United States of America. Now a part of Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine & Society program, AFFIRM brings together health systems, community stakeholders, and firearms experts and owners from across the country, all committed to reducing firearm suicide, domestic violence, and homicide. Reframe programs held in various locations across the country can be found here.
  • Rethink: Talking about Firearm Injury and Gun Violence
    A podcast from AFFIRM at the Aspen Institute, co-hosted with the University of Colorado Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative.
  • Goods for Guns
    Goods for Guns, established in 2001, is a gun buyback program that has been a collaborative effort with the Worcester District Attorney, the Worcester Police Department, and the Department of Surgery. The goals of this program are 1) to remove unwanted improperly stored guns from homes; 2) to educate the community about the increased risk of gun-related injuries in the home and the importance of safe gun storage; and 3) to identify individuals possessing improperly stored guns at home and provide them with safety information and alternatives.
  • Massachusetts Laws Pertaining to Firearms
    Information on selected Massachusetts laws pertaining to firearms.
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders
    Also known as the Red Flag Law, this link includes a downloadable brochure.
  • Means Matter
    A campaign from the Harvard School of Public Health, works to actively partner with gun owner groups to prevent suicide by promoting activities that reduce a suicidal person’s access to lethal means.
  • Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
    A center of Healing, Teaching, and Learning for families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss. An integral partner to the City of Boston, the Institute has developed best practices in serving families and communities impacted by murder for 28 years, offers resources to families seeking support and trains providers on best practices in the field of homicide response.
  • Transforming Narratives of Gun Violence
    The Engagement Lab at Emerson College has partnered with the Gun Violence Prevention Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute to develop collaborative storytelling by local individuals and organizations deeply connected to the issue of firearm violence on both sides of the gun.
  • Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP)
    A program of Boston Medical Center, assists victims of violence in their recovery from physical and emotional trauma by empowering them with skills, services, and opportunities. Empowerment enables victims to return to their communities, make positive changes in their lives, strengthen others who are affected by violence, and contribute to building safer and healthier communities. Through effective intervention, VIAP aims to improve clients' long-term outcomes, which include reduction in violent reinjury and future violence enactment.

Screening Tools

  • Preventing Violence in Health Care Toolkit
    Offered from the American Academy of Family Physicians, a carefully curated collection of educational resources gleaned from various trusted sources that covers all members of the care team.
    A program for parents and adults encourages conversations on gun safety and responsibility.
  • CALM: Counseling on Access to Lethal Means
    Information and resources from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
  • The ICAR2E tool
    Developed by the American College of Emergency Physicians, a bedside tool to assist emergency physicians to identify and risk stratify patients at risk of self-harm.
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)
    Recommended by the USPSTF, available for use with veterans to identify possible depression with follow-up for positive screens.
  • SafERteens
    An evidence-based brief intervention to prevent youth violence, a routine emergency department clinical practice.
  • The SaFETy score
    A 4-question screen designed to predict future firearm balance.
  • Lethal Means Counseling
    Information and resources from Means Matter.

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