Starting the Conversation

Luis raises his concerns regarding firearm risk to address his friend Manny’s safety.

Make sure you are the right person for the conversation.

How is your relationship with the person you are concerned about?

If your relationship is rocky,

Someone else might be a better choice. Enlist the support of someone the Veteran trusts and who doesn’t have lots of ups and downs with the Veteran. Someone who knows about guns is especially helpful.

Read tips for sharing your concerns with a third person so you can get on the same page.

If your relationship is solid,

Great, you’re in a good position to raise the issue. Still, it can be helpful to have another person involved. Especially if you don’t know much about firearms.

It may help to learn about different storage options before you even start the conversation. This way you will have a few different options in mind.

Once you decide you are ready for a conversation, here are some tips…

“We will work together on this – but you (the person you are concerned about) will remain in charge.”

One reason it’s hard to admit to feeling suicidal is the fear that people will take away your rights or freedom.

The fact that someone is struggling doesn’t mean they lose the right to call the shots in their life.

Often people think, “I’m worried about you”, means, “I don’t trust you”, or, “I think less of you”. But worry isn’t a judgment about the person, it’s a judgment about what they’re up against.

“I believe in you and I know you’re in pain. And what you’re up against is tough enough that you could use some cover in this battle.”

Things can get out of hand between intimate partners, especially during arguments or a break-up.

If your loved one (or ex) is having issues with anger and violence, and the guns are a danger to you as well, consider getting someone else involved.

If there is a high-risk of danger to you, some states offer legal options. And in an emergency, you can always call 9-1-1.

Having Family Conversations

Kevin, a Veteran, father, and counselor, provides tips on how to start a family conversation about firearm safety.