Finding Common Ground: Suicide Prevention & Gun Rights

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

In Utah and two other states, a voluntary 'do-not-sell list' allows individuals who feel they may be a future risk to themselves or others to voluntarily, temporarily, and confidentially suspend their ability to buy a firearm. In our February discussion, Morissa Henn, Deputy Commissioner at the NH Department of Health and Human Services, reflected on her prior role in Utah working with a coalition of policymakers, gun rights advocates, and public health leaders to make Utah one of the first states to offer this type of voluntary 'do-not-sell list' — to help prevent suicide and build momentum for ongoing policy efforts built on trust and common goals between gun owners and non-gun-owners. Following her presentation, NH Representative David Meuse discussed HB 1050-FN, a bill introduced in the 2024 legislative session that would establish a voluntary 'do-not-sell list' in New Hampshire, and Katrina Brees shared how her mother's suicide by gun has catalyzed a national movement towards similar legislation.

Watch the Video 

View the Presentation Slides and Other Resources

About the Speakers

morissa henn

Morissa Henn serves as Deputy Commissioner at the NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS), the State's largest executive agency, with approximately 3,000 employees, a $2 billion budget, and a mission "to join communities and families in providing opportunities for residents to achieve health and independence." In this role, she leads cross-cutting strategic efforts to integrate policy and practice, with a focus on supporting New Hampshire's most vulnerable individuals. She was recently promoted from the role of Associate Commissioner, where her portfolio included the State's child welfare and juvenile justice system (the Division for Children, youth, and Families) and its public mental health and substance misuse system (the Division for Behavioral Health).

Before joining the NH DHHS, Morissa worked on issues of community health, mental health, and violence prevention in Utah, collaborating with colleagues at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Part of her work and leadership there focused on understanding and addressing suicide through a public health lens, and the critical importance of engaging firearm owners as critical stakeholders in community-based suicide prevention efforts. 

david meuse

A Portsmouth resident since 2010,  Representative David Meuse serves as the Deputy Ranking Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He represents Portsmouth, Newington, and New Castle.

Representative Meuse has sponsored legislation on issues ranging from gun violence to PFAS contamination and Artificial Intelligence. A former television news reporter and a long-time partner in the communication practice of a heath and retirement administration consulting firm, he is currently serving in his third term in the legislature.

Katrina Brees

Katrina Brees is the daughter of Donna Nathan, after whom ‘Donna’s Law’ is named. Donna had a strong will to live despite mental illness, but she died by suicide in 2018, hours after a purchasing her first gun. Since then, Brees has advocated for the creation of a voluntary registry for people who believe they might be a danger to themselves or others.