Suicide Prevention with Firearm Cable Locks

image displaying an example of a red firearm cable lock

Suicide Prevention with Howard Center’s Free Firearm Cable Lock Distribution in Vermont

BURLINGTON, VT — Building on the success of last year’s launch, Howard Center is continuing its initiative to distribute free firearm cable locks as part of its comprehensive suicide prevention strategy in Chittenden County. Recognizing the critical link between suicide and firearm access, the program aims to encourage safer firearm storage practices. With firearms involved in over half of the suicides in Vermont, preventive measures are key to firearm safety.

“Safe firearm storage is an essential component in gun safety and suicide prevention,” said Mark Margolis, Howard Center’s suicide prevention coordinator.

The majority of suicides occur within minutes or hours following the onset of suicidal thoughts. By increasing the number of barriers, such as secure firearm storage, individuals may have more time to seek help.

“We initiated this program last year and are continuing to encourage community members to use these free firearm cable locks. They are a critical barrier that can ultimately save lives,” Margolis said.

The firearm cable locks work by being inserted into the receiver of a gun, which prevents the mechanical action necessary to discharge a projectile. This method ensures the firearm cannot go into battery, which means the firearm cannot be loaded or fired, an essential barrier in preventing unauthorized use and accidents. The device can be unlocked and removed at any time using the included key. Instructions are included with the firearm cable locks.

Free firearm cable locks are available at Howard Center’s office located at 208 Flynn Avenue in Burlington, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Supplies can be limited, so it’s always best to call in advance to check availability at 802-488-6912 or email For additional firearm cable lock distribution sites across Vermont, visit

This initiative is part of Howard Center’s mission to enhance community safety and support mental well-being.  For additional suicide prevention resources including a free copy of the third edition of our Suicide Prevention Across the Lifespan guide in multiple languages, visit

Need Support?

If you or a loved one need support, our Access and Intake main number 802-488-6000 is available Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Our First Call for Chittenden County crisis hotline, 802-488-7777, is available 24/7/365. Help is here.