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Amid Debate Over Gun Policy, An Unlikely Team Finds Some Consensus in N.H.

Ralph Demicco, former owner of Riley's Gun Shop in Hooksett, has teamed up with public health experts to broaden suicide prevention efforts. Here, he's featured in a 2011 video about the launch of the "Gun Shop Project." Photo courtesy of Nami New Hampshire

Ralph Demicco, former owner of Riley’s Gun Shop in Hooksett, has teamed up with public health experts to broaden suicide prevention efforts. Here, he’s featured in a 2011 video about the launch of the “Gun Shop Project.” Photo courtesy of Nami New Hampshire

When we think about gun deaths in the United States, we usually think about mass shootings, like the one last week in Santa Fe, Texas — tragedies that have deeply divided the country.

But in New Hampshire, most gun deaths are suicides.

This often overlooked statistic inspired The Gun Shop Project, an unlikely team of New Hampshire gun owners and public health experts who came together in hopes of curbing gun suicides.

Nearly 10 years ago, the group decided the best way to try to do so was to teach employees of gun shops about the signs of suicide and encourage them not to make a sale if they think someone is struggling.

This summer, they’ve decided to broaden their efforts to firearm training classes, a place where they feel they could have even bigger impact than the original work that inspired similar projects across the country.

Visit NHPR for the full story.