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Published May 15, 2023
More than $12,000 was raised and donated to the University of Wyoming Firearms Research Center (FRC) by a Firearms Industry Conference silent auction. These funds will be used to fund FRC’s suicide awareness initiative, which will include a webpage with resources for the public, students, scholars and the media.
“On behalf of the Firearms Research Center, we would like to thank Orchid and attendees of the 2023 Firearms Industry Conference for making the inaugural silent auction such a huge success,” says George Mocsary, co-founder and director of FRC. “Thanks to their support and generosity, we will have the resources in place to fund the center’s suicide awareness initiative.”
In partnership with the Wyoming Department of Health, FRC’s new comprehensive website will include suicide data; resources to enhance suicide awareness and prevention; and links to partner websites such as Walk the Talk America. FRC also is planning events on various topics related to suicide prevention, such as safe gun storage and firearm owner cultural competency for mental health professionals.
“With this donation, made possible by Orchid and the Firearms Industry Conference, we will work diligently to reduce the stigma of mental illness within the gun community and educate mental health professionals about firearm ownership,” says Ashley Hlebinsky, co-founder and senior fellow of FRC. “Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the country, and FRC will join the fight to change that.”
Hlebinsky is a longtime mental health advocate and serves on the Board of Directors of Walk the Talk America.
The Firearms Industry Conference is an annual event for federal firearm regulators, trade association representatives, firearm and accessory manufacturers, attorneys, and compliance and marketing professionals. The multiday conference focuses on federal firearms licensing technology, compliance, firearm law, marketing and finance educational sessions.
About UW’s Firearms Research Center
FRC, which is housed in the UW College of Law, was founded in 2023 by legal scholar Mocsary and firearms historian Hlebinsky 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, FRC’s aim is to foster a broad discourse and produce meaningful change in how firearms are discussed and understood. FRC 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. For more information, visit www.firearmsresearchcenter.org.