CONCORD, N.H. – A group is trying to reduce the suicide rate in New Hampshire by working with gun shop owners after three people killed themselves within a week just hours after purchasing guns.

That week – more than a year ago – prompted Elizabeth Fenner-Lukaitis of the state’s Bureau of Behavioral Health to call members of the New Hampshire Suicide Prevention Council, which determined that in 10 percent of the state’s suicides that involve guns, the gun was purchased within a week of the death.

The council created a committee to explore ways to get gun retailers involved in suicide prevention. And though nothing has been finalized yet, the group has been surveying retailers and discussing several ideas, including posters and brochures for gun shop customers that would highlight suicide risk factors.

“This is what I love about New Hampshire … she didn’t just think, ‘That’s interesting, I wonder if something could be done,”‘ said Cathy Barber of the Harvard Injury Control and Research Center. “No. She gets on the phone, calls around and gets a gun store owner, a firearms safety instructor, mental health people and public health people to work together.”

Barber joined members of the council Thursday at a news conference to discuss the group’s recent initiatives. She said the effort to involve gun retailers was an example of New Hampshire’s practical, personal approach to preventing suicide.

“This is an extraordinary partnership among people from across all shades of the political spectrum,” she said. “One in 10 isn’t a huge proportion, but it is one death every six or eight weeksand something that can possibly be prevented.”

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in New Hampshire for youth and young adults age 15-34, behind unintentional injury. The number of suicides has fluctuated over the last decade, with 159 deaths last year.

Dr. Robert MacLeod, co-chairman of the council’s public policy committee, said members are hopeful that recent legislation will make a difference. A state law that took effect July 31 authorized the creation of a suicide fatality review committee that will analyze the circumstances of each suicide and make recommendations.