Firearms storage safety discussions in VA primary care: Staff perspectives

Khaya D. Clark, Summer Newell, Emily A. Kenyon, Elizabeth Karras, Joseph A. Simonetti, Martha Gerrity, Steven K. Dobscha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe VHA primary care clinician and staff perspectives on conducting firearms storage safety (FSS) discussions in primary care, and to identify key approaches for primary care teams to facilitate FSS conversations. Method: Qualitative analysis of transcripts and notes from focus groups with VA primary care staff and individual semi-structured interviews with primary care clinicians. One hundred-seven VHA primary care team members participated in one of four focus groups or individual semi-structured interviews (n = 5). Results: FSS discussions are perceived as within the purview of primary care. Primary care staff also outlined five tools and processes needed to meaningfully implement FSS discussions in primary care: training on firearms and firearms culture; examining personal attitudes toward firearms; developing supplemental materials to normalize and support FSS discussions; increasing knowledge of firearms laws and regulations; and providing scripts to facilitate conversations. Conclusions: Conducting FSS discussions in primary care settings is perceived as an acceptable practice, yet care teams identified barriers and suggestions for overcoming implementation challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-101
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Depression
  • Firearms safety
  • PTSD
  • Primary care
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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