Suicide & Gun Safety

Save a life: Time between you and a loaded gun can make a difference - It only takes seconds to safely store your firearms

Feeling isolated, depressed, or anxious can lead to difficult situations in your life.  If these feelings interfere with your daily life or go on for too long, you may need help and support. 

When you are having these feelings, one simple step you can take is to put space and time between you and your guns. Safe firearm storage only takes seconds. Suicide by gun is the most common type of suicide death among men. By safely storing your guns you protect yourself and your family, and you could save a life. 

The information below can help:

  • Resources for safely storing your firearms

  • Recognizing suicide warning signs

  • What to do and where to find help

Dial 9-8-8

Hear Yvonne's Story

“If those guns had not been safely stored, she wouldn't have had a chance to change her mind.”

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Hear Yvonne's Story
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Hear Pete's Story

“Safely storing guns could save a life.”

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Hear Pete's Story
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Hear Peter's Story

“Suicide by firearm is a concern and something we should be talking about.”

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Hear Peter's Story
*By clicking on the “Watch External Video” button, you will leave this website, enter a non-County of Santa Clara website, and be subject to the destination website’s privacy policy.  Please see our Links Policy for more information. 
Safely storing your guns

Safely Storing Your Guns

Suicide is impulsive. In a moment of crisis, time and space between you and a gun can make all the difference. Quick access to guns during tough times can lead to decisions resulting in harm or death. To prevent these, there are plenty of tools you can use to practice safe storage. 

Learn Key Ways to Be Gun Safe

The 11 Commandments of Gun Safety brochure includes different firearm safety options to protect you and your loved ones. Included are ways you can temporarily store firearms outside of the home. Safe Firearm Storage Matters from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has additional helpful information for Veterans.

Find a Free Firearm Safety Kit

Free firearm safety kits are available upon request at many locations throughout Santa Clara County through Project ChildSafe. The program is a National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) initiative to promote firearm safety and education. Find a location close to you.

Veterans can also get free gun locks by request at any VA location.

Learn More about Firearms and Suicide Prevention

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): Firearms and Suicide Prevention is a detailed webpage providing information on the relationship between suicide and firearms, extra steps to prevent firearm suicide, and how to cope with loss of a loved one to gun suicide. The page also includes gun suicide research, suicide risk factors and warning signs, resources to provide help, and reminders on how to stay safe.
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Means Matter is a suicide prevention campaign aimed at promoting reduction of access to lethal means for suicide. The page contains research, information and FAQs, resources, and ways to promote means reduction to help prevent suicide. 
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means is a webpage with helpful brochures, fact sheets, and tip sheets on how to reduce suicide risk through safe storage at home, firearm safety, and more.

Voluntarily Relinquish Your Firearm

The County of Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office accepts firearms and ammunition at its stations in San Jose, Cupertino, and San Martin. If you feel that you or someone in your household is at risk of harming themselves or anyone else, you can turn in your guns. Instructions on how to turn over your firearm and/or ammunition are below.

Visit How to Voluntarily Relinquish Firearms to the Sheriff's Office or call 408-299-2311 and tell the dispatcher. 

Guns are accepted at the following locations:

Sheriff’s headquarters
55 W. Younger Ave., San Jose
Open all day and night

West Valley Division
1601 S. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino
Monday-Friday from 8am to 3pm

South County Station
80 W. Highland Ave., San Martin
Monday-Friday from 8am to 3pm

Get a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO)

GVROs can help temporarily remove guns and prevent new ones from being purchased by someone who is at risk of harming themselves or others. If you are concerned that someone you know is at risk, you can file for a GVRO. Family members, household members, some employers, colleagues, teachers, and law enforcement are eligible to file. Learn more about GVROs and how to file one at

Suicide warning signs

Suicide Warning Signs

While the act of suicide is impulsive, there are warning signs you may experience or someone you love may show when feeling suicidal. Even if your firearms are safely stored, it’s important to manage thoughts of suicide and know how they might show. Feeling depressed and isolated can often tell you that something is wrong, but there are many more signs that you need help. These include:

Changes in how you feel physically

  • Trouble coping with physical changes, such as sleep, energy level or appetite changes.
  • Unbearable chronic pain.

Changes in how you think

  • Thinking life is not worth living.
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or having suicidal thoughts.
  • Thinking others are better off without you.

Changes in how you feel emotionally

  • Feeling isolated from others who understand you.
  • Feeling inadequate.
  • Feeling like a burden to others.
  • Feeling abandoned or betrayed.
  • Feeling ashamed of who you are.
  • Feeling hopeless, desperate, or trapped.
  • Having no sense of purpose.
  • Having sudden mood changes.

Changes in how you act

  • Purchasing a firearm or other weapon.
  • Doing careless things that put you in danger.
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use.
  • Withdrawing and spending most of your time alone.
  • Putting affairs in order.
  • Giving away prized possessions.

Stressful circumstances in your life

  • Financial stress.
  • General anxiety, e.g., about your and your family’s health and wellbeing.
  • Death or suicide of a loved one.
  • Conflict with your family or community support system.
  • Failure to meet expectations.
  • Trouble adjusting to a new environment.
  • Chronic or terminal illness.
  • Being treated unfairly because of who you are.
  • Not having others who understand you.
  • Exposure to trauma, such as abuse or bullying.
What you can do if you're feeling suicidal

What You Can Do if You’re Feeling Suicidal

Put safety measures in place
When someone is showing warning signs or struggling with thoughts of suicide, even as you seek help, it’s important to keep the immediate surroundings safe. This can include:

  • Clearing away any potentially lethal weapons from your household, such as 
  • Asking a family member or friend to monitor medication use
  • Asking your doctor or pharmacist to limit medication prescriptions, dosages, and refills.
  • Setting out only the medication dosage required for each day

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Reducing Firearm & Other Household Safety Risks for Veterans and Their Families resource contains plenty of safety tips as well as helpful information on gun storage options.

Talk with your doctor
Talk to your doctor or any other health care or mental health professional, such as a nurse, therapist or counselor. Do not be afraid to tell them what you are feeling and let them know what has changed. They can help you pinpoint problems and discuss treatment options.

Speak with someone you know and trust
Friends and family members may have noticed a change that you cannot see. Share your feelings and listen to what they have to say. Faith leaders or spiritual advisors can also be a good place to start.

Ask for support
If you belong to a community organization, support group, or participate in any other community-based programs, talk to a fellow member, staff person, or volunteer about support or resources.

Get help in your area
Contact one of the mental health and suicide prevention services listed below to speak with an experienced professional. Asking for help is an important step in protecting yourself and your family.

Where You Can Go for Help


All are 24/7, free, confidential

Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis Hotline
Dial 9-8-8
Trained volunteer counselors available 24/7
Crisis Text Line Number
Text RENEW to 741741
Connect for free with a Crisis Counselor for support

Envía un mensaje de texto con la palabra COMUNIDAD al 741741
Comunicarte de manera gratuita con un Consejero de Crisis en español

Veterans’ Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255; press 1
1-800-799-4889, for deaf and hard-of-hearing
Text any message to 838255
Connect with qualified, caring VA responders


Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Call Center
For more information about all Santa Clara County behavioral health programs, or to see if you qualify.

Main Office
3100 De La Cruz Blvd, Suite 310, Santa Clara
South County Office
16340 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill
Speak with a Health Insurance Counselor for details about your Medicare choices. Counseling sessions are free.

Mental Health Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic
2221 Enborg Lane, San Jose
Open every day from 8am to 10pm
The clinic provides screening, assessment, crisis intervention, referral and short-term treatment to adolescents and adults experiencing a behavioral health crisis and need immediate help, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

Mobile Crisis Response Team
Dial 9-8-8
Open 24-hours, 7 days a week
Speak with a clinician to who can screen and assess mental health or suicide crisis situations over the phone and intervene wherever the crisis is occurring.

911 Emergency Services
If calling 911 for a mental health-related emergency, request a police officer with Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training.


National Alliance on Mental Illness
1150 South Bascom Ave., Suite 24, San Jose
The nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Make the Connection
Online resource for veterans to hear stories of recovery and access resources.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Healing Conversations 
Email: [email protected]
Opportunity for survivors of suicide loss to speak with volunteers who are loss survivors.


BHSD Q Corner
1075 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose
Offers support to the LGBTQ+ community and their friends, families, and allies through referrals, resource navigation, peer support, and social engagement.

LGBTQ Wellness
452 S. 1st Street, San Jose
Access peer-based social, emotional, and mental health support for LGBTQ+ adults in Santa Clara County.

Billy DeFrank Lesbian & Gay Community Center
938 The Alameda, San Jose
Provides community, leadership, advocacy, services and support to the Silicon Valley’s LGBTQ+ People and their Allies.

More LGBTQ+ County resources are available at

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