Researchers map dozens of safe places to store guns in Colorado

Gun owners now have access to dozens of places in Colorado, to safely store their firearms, all with the click of a button.

The University of Colorado Anchutz Medical Campus has published a statewide map, showing where gun owners can temporarily store their weapons to get them out of their homes.

The storage map was created to try to prevent suicide, by separating guns from anyone who may be in crisis.

The map is the first of its kind in the country.

Gun storage is nothing new for Colorado gun shop owners.

G & G Guns owner Warren Marshall has offered it for about a year and a half.

“There were some people who wanted to bring their guns in because they were going to court and the major police departments will destroy the guns, unless court-ordered to give them back,” Marshall explained.

“So they wanted to keep the guns here. If they got off, then they’d have to do a background check to get the guns back.”

Marshall charges a $10 monthly storage fee, and says he always runs a background check before returning a stored gun to its owner.

He’s one of dozens of gun shop owners who gave permission to be listed on this new storage map.

Medical professionals hope it won’t just be a convenience for gun owners, but a life saver in some cases.

“Specifically, if I see someone who is at risk of suicide—who is maybe going through a tough divorce, has some mental health problems—together, we could use this as a way for them to think about how they can make their home safer, while they’re getting better,” said Dr. Emmy Betz, an emergency physician at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

According to Colorado Ceasefire, suicides constituted nearly 75% of the gun deaths in the state in 2018.

“It’s not that the presence of a gun makes a person suicidal. It’s just the in that moment, if someone can reach for a gun, they’re more likely to die,” said Betz.

“It feels like we could really have a big impact there, working together with the firearms community, helping people take care of each other,” she added.

So far, Marshall says those aren’t the types of clients who have paid to store their guns with him—telling Fox31 of the 300-400 guns he’s stored, only a couple have been brought in for “safety reasons.”

Marshall says he believes this is a better alternative to the red flag law.

“That seems to be the course of action to take. The kid, or the person, needs to get treated—needs to get fixed. And if he’s legally able by the court to get the guns back, I’m happy to do that as well. But, I have to have that court authority to do so.”

The creators of this storage map insist this is a preventative measure—not an extension of the red flag law.

“This is really far upstream from the red flag laws,” said Betz.

"This is for people who voluntarily and temporarily want to move their firearms out of their homes—so before there’s any involvement of extreme risk protection order or police involvement,” she added.

“It’s a lot like having a designated driver. If you’re out with your friends, your buddy has too much to drink, you take his keys to get him home safely for the night. This is the same idea, that we want to help communities really look out for each other,” she concluded.

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