The Firearms Research Center (FRC), housed at the University of Wyoming College of Law, will hold a “Firearms and Mental Health: Fostering Understanding, Safety and Support” conference Thursday and Friday, Nov. 16-17, at various locations throughout Laramie.

“As we work to elevate the discourse around firearms and the Second Amendment, the Firearms Research Center also is committed to fostering public dialogue on pressing issues impacting our community and country,” says Ashley Hlebinsky, executive director of the FRC.

Organized in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Walk the Talk America, the two-day summit will bring together mental health practitioners, firearms experts, academics, lawyers and community leaders to discuss a series of topics. These include safe storage, mental health and firearms, and suicide awareness and prevention.

“We are honored to host this summit and sincerely hope it leads to better understanding, deeper partnerships, safer communities and enhanced support for those who need it most,” Hlebinsky says.

The conference is free and open to the public. In addition to panel discussions and keynote speakers, there will be a town-hall meeting on the UW campus and gun safety training at a local gun range.

About the Firearms Research Center

The FRC was founded in 2023 to establish more voices in the firearms discussion; create a pipeline of graduates prepared to serve as firearms lawyers; and act as a reliable, nonpartisan resource for firearms-related information.

By bringing together scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines and experts without traditional academic backgrounds, the FRC’s aim is to foster a broad discourse and produce meaningful change in how firearms are discussed and understood. The center will serve as a resource for academics, practitioners, lawmakers, members of the media and the public on the uses and roles of firearms in society — both past and present.

About the Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Department of Health is organized into four primary divisions: Aging, Behavioral Health, Health Care Financing and Public Health. Each of these divisions helps serve the health care needs of Wyoming residents.

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About Walk the Talk America

Walk the Talk America is dedicated to bridging the gap between mental health and responsible gun ownership. Its mission is to enhance the perception of mental health among gun owners while elevating the standard of mental health care within this community. Walk the Talk America is uniquely positioned as an organization that integrates the wisdom of gun-owning mental health professionals, offering innovative solutions derived from real-world experiences.

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About the Cheyenne Veterans Health Administration

Cheyenne VHA takes a proactive approach to addressing the critical issue of veteran suicide through its Suicide Prevention Program. Committed to the well-being of the nation’s heroes, VHA’s program offers a comprehensive range of services and support systems designed to identify at-risk individuals, provide timely intervention and promote mental health and resilience among veterans. By fostering a culture of care and compassion, the Cheyenne VHA Suicide Prevention Program aims to reduce the incidence of veteran suicide, ensuring that those who have served the country receive the help and support they deserve.