Gun Owners and Suicide Prevention

A tough topic for anyone to talk about or listen to is Suicide. It’s a sad discussion because most feel it could have been prevented if something different could have happened. There is a lot of blame that goes around when someone has been connected to or affected by someone committing suicide. Rather than ignore it, I want to help discuss some options/responsibilities and help maybe prevent some of it from happening.

Being a gun owner is an awesome right, privilege, and responsibility. And most gun owners I talk to appreciate that when they own a firearm they are assuming more responsibility than if they didn’t own a firearm. While this is great, it doesn’t go far enough to help in the area of suicide.

There was a great article in SPCR, “Colorado gun shops work together to prevent suicides,” where gun shops teamed up with local hospitals to help teach gun owners about the additional risks associated with gun ownership in the area of suicide and suicide prevention. Here are some quotes that came from the article relating to some of these issues and activities…

“There’s a new push in the national conversation about gun violence that is attempting to sidestep the political rancor, to find common ground on one thing — guns and suicide. The campaign in Colorado is called the Colorado Gun Shop Project.

Centennial Gun Club is one of 46 on board. The project formally started in the summer of 2014, modeled after a similar one by the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition.

Clark says there’s now an 11th commandment on gun safety rules: Consider off-site storage — family, friends, some shooting clubs, police departments or gun shops — if a family member may be suicidal. Clark says most people don’t realize that the majority of gun deaths are not homicides but suicide.

A survey of hospital emergency rooms by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 found an estimated 21,175 suicides involving firearms compared with 11,208 homicides involving guns.

“The gun community itself is more at risk than the regular community, not because gun owners tend to have more mental health issues but just because they have more access [to firearms],” Clark says.

And now, a large trade association for the firearms industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is teaming up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to develop a suicide prevention campaign for the gun group’s 13,000 members. Their goal is to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20 percent in the next decade.”

I think this is a great initiative and something every gun owner should be aware of and help with as part of being a responsible gun owner. Knowing how to safeguard your firearms and protect others from accessing them is an important part of gun ownership. Not only could it help save a life but it could help keep the gun owner out of prison and living with regrets the rest of their life. Because to me the mantra of all gun owners should always be to…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.

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