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USM Psychology Students Develop Gun Storage Map for Mississippi

Wed, 05/12/2021 - 15:32pm | By: Karelia Pitts

MS Gun Storage MapTo help Mississippians seeking local options for temporary, voluntary firearm storage, graduate students and project coordinators in The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) clinical psychology doctoral program created an online map of trusted gun shops and facilities willing to consider these types of requests.

Their goal is to make it easier for people to safely store firearms outside of their homes and potentially reduce gun-related deaths and theft. From the Delta to the Gulf Coast, roughly 20 sites scattered across the state have agreed to consider requests for temporary firearm storage. Click here to access the map.

After watching gun storage maps pop up in Colorado, Maryland and Washington, a group of Southern Miss doctoral students and project coordinators from the Suicide and Emotion Dysregulation Lab and the Anxiety and Trauma Research Program began working on a version closer to home under the supervision of Dr. Mike Anestis, former USM faculty member in the School of Psychology and current executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center and associate professor at Rutgers University.

“Whether you’re experiencing a stressful season, going out of town or simply having your grandkids over for a visit, we hope the Mississippi Gun Storage Map will help firearm owners lead the way on safety,” said Dr. Anestis. “We applaud the businesses involved in this important project. With their help, we can make our communities safer and help residents protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Firearm owners may consider temporarily storing their firearms at a secure site for a variety of reasons, including these circumstances:

  • They are traveling and want to keep firearms secure while they are away.
  • A teenager in the home is in crisis and at risk for suicide.
  • Children are visiting.
  • A couple is divorcing, and arguments are getting heated.
  • A family member is experiencing mental health or substance use concerns.
  • The homeowner is listing the house for sale and wants firearms to be secure while showings occur.

“Temporarily storing a firearm outside of the home can be especially helpful for loved ones in crisis or people experiencing thoughts of suicide. You might not realize someone is struggling, so we encourage you to be proactive and share this resource with any firearm owners you know,” said Samantha Daruwala, a graduate student who helped lead the project. “If even one life can be saved because of this tool, it will have all been worth it. Please help us spread the word.”

Individuals looking for temporary storage should contact the businesses listed on the map directly for further information. Any businesses or law enforcement agencies interested in being added to the map can email safegunstoragems@gmail.com.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255(TALK) or text “Home” to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line.

To learn more about the USM School of Psychology, visit usm.edu/psychology. For information about the College of Education and Human Sciences, which houses the School of Psychology, visit usm.edu/education-human-sciences.