Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

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Lethal Means Safety

Priority #3: Increase Lethal Means Safety and Safety Planning for Service Members, Veterans and Their Families (SMVF)


Reducing access to suicide methods that are highly lethal and commonly used is a proven strategy for decreasing suicide rates. While some suicidal crises last a long time, most last minutes to hours. Limiting access to lethal means during periods of crisis can make it more likely that the person will delay or survive a suicide attempt.

For Veterans whose recent history includes a suicidal crisis, or for Veterans who are experiencing suicidal ideation or significant distress, suicide risk is reduced by safely storing potential means for suicide, including firearms and other weapons, medications, illicit drugs, household chemicals, poisons, and materials used for hanging or suffocation.



  • Expand and promote lethal means safety resources for military families.
  • Increase awareness of safe storage options in NJ.
  • Disseminate lethal means safety media content.
  • Raise awareness of NJ’s Extreme Risk Protective Order option.


  • Develop a website or link to an existing site that provides an interactive experience and educates families on the CALM approach.
  • Adopt, disseminate, and maintain a NJ Safe Storage Firearms Safety Map.
  • Complete a safe storage needs assessment and compile data on first time gun owners in NJ.
  • Post or link to graduate student created lethal means safety and safety planning videos.
  • Link to NJ’s Extreme Risk Protective Order information page.



Safe Storage

Lethal Means Safety

A safe home environment can buy you, or someone you care about, time to get help. Contrary to popular belief, people who are suicidal don’t generally seek other ways to attempt suicide if they can’t access the method they planned to use. Nor will they attempt suicide if safeguards are in place making the method more difficult.
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Safe Storage

NJ Firearm Storage Map

The NJ Firearm Storage Map was developed to help community members seeking local options for temporary, voluntary firearm storage. The businesses listed on this map are willing to consider requests for temporary, voluntary firearm storage. Temporarily storing a firearm outside of the home can be especially helpful to those in crisis and/or at risk for suicide. 
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NJ Gun Violence Research Center

New Jersey’s Gun Violence Research Center (GVRC) conducts interdisciplinary research on the causes, consequences, and solutions to gun-related violence, while respecting the rights of legal, safe gun ownership, and use.
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Featured Video »
Video Series »

NJ Gun Buy Back

Gun Amnesty Program

New Jersey Residents can anonymously turn in their firearms and get paid for up to three guns. No questions asked. Law enforcement firearms experts will be on hand at each location to assist with the valuation and securing of turned-in weapons.
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NJ Medicine Drop

Project Medicine Drop

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has developed Project Medicine Drop as an important component of its effort to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. It allows consumers to dispose of unused and expired medications anonymously, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at prescription drug drop boxes located within the headquarters of participating police departments.
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Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM)

Reducing access to lethal means, such as firearms and medication, can determine whether a person at risk for suicide lives or dies. The CALM online course is about how to reduce access to the methods people use to kill themselves. It covers who needs lethal means counseling and how to work with people at risk for suicide—and their families—to reduce access.
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Gun Violence Protective Orders

The Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) Act became effective September 1, 2019. This Act authorizes New Jersey Courts to issue gun violence protective orders against individuals who pose a significant risk of personal injury to themselves or others by possessing or owning a firearm. The protective orders prohibit the person against whom the order is filed from securing or possessing any firearm or permit or license allowing firearm possession during the protective order period.
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Department of Defense

Lethal Means Safety Resources

Lethal means safety is important because the time period between thinking about suicide to acting on it is quick – moving from thought to action can last only a few minutes. Simply put, removing access and improving lethal means safety can reduce the number of suicides, save lives, and protect you and your family/loved one.
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Last Updated: 12/29/2021
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