A safely stored firearm can mean the difference between a tragic outcome and a life saved. Though many Veterans are well-versed in gun safety, all Veterans and their families should understand how to properly handle and store firearms to prevent suicide, injury or accidents. An average of twenty Veterans die by suicide each day. In 2014, roughly 67% of all Veteran deaths by suicide were the result of firearm injuries. Statistics for that year also show that about 65% of all Veterans who die by suicide are age 50 or older. Compared to their age-matched civilian peers, both male and female Veterans have an increased risk for suicide. Research suggests that most suicidal crises pass within minutes to hours, and that building in time and space between a suicidal impulse and access to a gun reduces suicide deaths.
In response, the VA Challenge Team has been given the authority to seek solutions through an Innovation Challenge. The Gun Safety Challenge invites proposals for solutions that offer new options for enhanced safe gun storage to prevent suicide, injury and accidents.
Winning proposals will receive cash prizes in the following amounts:
- First Prize – up to $30,000
- Second Prize – up to $20,000
- Third Prize – up to $10,000
Additional non-cash incentives may include:
- Access to VA resources, such as Subject Matter Experts, for any potential follow-on design and development.
- Recognition across VA media streams to highlight the winning concepts/design.