Smart Move On The Part Of NSSF Regarding Suicide

30 to 33,000 deaths a year by firearms is the number that the gun prohibitionists love to throw around. This is intentionally misleading as the uneducated presume that all of these deaths are the result of criminal homicides. In reality, the large majority of these deaths are the result of a person taking his or her own life and using a firearm as the tool of their demise. Any check of CDC reports of vital statistics makes this clear.

This being said, regardless of what instrument someone chooses to use to take their own life, suicide is a serious issue and finding common ground on ways to reduce the numbers of deaths by suicide is important. The Second Amendment Foundation (and the NRA) found this to be true in Washington State where they joined with health professionals on a bill aimed at suicide prevention. Now the National Shooting Sports Foundation is joining with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to go nationwide with suicide prevention efforts.

This is a very smart move by the gun industry and one that should be applauded. A reduction in the number of suicides and treatment of the depression that might have engendered the suicide is good for all of society. Moreover, it helps to remove the focus from the instrument used to commit suicide and put it where it belongs:  on the root causes of the suicide itself. Finally, it shows that the gun culture is serious about working to alleviate this mental health issue unlike the gun prohibitionists who are content to clamor “guns, guns, guns, it’s the gun”.

A quick Google search indicates that news of the partnership is being picked up by the AP and a number of local news outlets. However, sad to say, I can’t find any mention of it by ABC, NBC, CNN, FoxNews, or CBS. The only suicide related news I can find there relates to Chelsea/Bradley Manning.


Here is the joint press release put out by NSSF and AFSP:

LAS
VEGAS — Of all firearms-related deaths in the U.S. in 2015, almost
two-thirds were suicide deaths, according to the 2015 Fatal Injury
Report, Center for Disease Control and Prevention. To help stem this
tragic loss of life, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation
(NSSF) today announced at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade
(SHOT) Show in Las Vegas a partnership to launch a new firearms and
suicide prevention education program nationwide in 2017.
The
program brings together AFSP community-based Chapters and NSSF-member
organizations, including firearms retailers and range owners across the
country, to educate the gun-owning community about suicide, warning
signs, risk factors and the importance of securely storing firearms to
help prevent access in times of distress. A pilot of this program has
been ongoing in four states since August 2016.
“Of
all suicide deaths in our nation, nearly 50 percent are by firearm. By
increasing public education of firearms and suicide prevention, and by
encouraging the use of safe storage options and thus reducing access to
lethal means, we give suicidal individuals something they desperately
need: time. Time for the intense suicidal risk to diminish and time for
someone to intervene with mental health support and resources,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer at a press conference today at the SHOT Show
in Las Vegas, the largest trade show in the world for professionals
involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement
industries. “Research has shown that separating suicidal individuals
from a variety of lethal means can prevent suicide.”
Firearms
retailers and range owners are in a unique position to help disseminate
mental health and suicide prevention education materials, and safe
storage options to those who frequent their stores. With these public
education resources, the firearms-owning community can help spread the
word to those who may be concerned about a friend or family member who
may be at risk, and who may have access to a firearm.
“Our
partnership with AFSP allows us to expand our decades-long firearms
safety efforts to include suicide prevention education,” said Steve
Sanetti, NSSF’s President and CEO. “As the industry’s trade association
with more than 12,000 members, we want to help. By making gun owners and
the public more aware of suicide and responsible firearm storage, we
are confident that we will help save lives.”
The firearms and suicide prevention program is an expansion of a pilot
that began last August, in four states including Alabama, Kentucky,
Missouri, and New Mexico. In these four states, relationships between
AFSP Chapter volunteers and local shooting range owners, firearms retail
stores and gun show vendors shared resources on recognizing the risks
and warning signs of suicide and ways of reaching out to those who may
be struggling, including:
  • Talk Saves Lives: Firearms and Suicide Prevention,
    a community-based presentation that provides an overview and
    understanding of mental health and suicide, and the benefits of
    connecting with those who may be struggling.
  • Firearms
    and Suicide Prevention, a new brochure which includes sections on safe
    storage options, statistics about suicide, how to recognize the risks
    and warning signs of suicide, how to reach out to someone when you’re
    worried about them, and where to go for further resources.
  • Firearms
    and Suicide Prevention: Facilitator’s Guide for AFSP volunteers
    involved in the program who need instructional information on leading
    community-based programs.
  • A new webpage
    which will showcase an overview of the firearms and suicide prevention
    program and the latest news. The organizations are currently creating a
    short training video on how to have a caring conversation with someone
    who may be suicidal, which will be featured on the webpage, and is due
    to be released in spring 2017.
“When
I first heard about this partnership I was really encouraged. Working
with experts in the field, we have been trying to teach gun owners about
suicide prevention on a local level for a while – and so far it’s been a
bootstrap effort, recruiting one firearms retailer at a time. But by
expanding the education and suicide prevention program nationally, we
will have a much easier time convincing retailers to get involved
because NSSF is a name they trust,” said Dick Abramson, President and
CEO of the Centennial Gun Club
in Colorado. “At a weekly ladies’ night we hold at the Centennial Gun
Club, we have already brought in a suicide prevention expert to speak on
this topic. The questions asked were insightful and the audience was
extremely interested. So we know there is a real thirst in the community
for this kind of education.”
-30-
About Project 2025
Launched
in October 2015, Project 2025 is a high-impact, collaborative
initiative developed by AFSP, aimed at achieving the organization’s bold
goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. Using a
dynamic systems model approach based on what the evidence tells us about
suicide, AFSP has determined a series of actions and critical areas to
help us reach our goal. With this approach we reach across all
demographic and sociological groups to have the greatest impact for
suicide prevention and the potential to save thousands of lives within
the next 10 years. If we work collectively to expand the above
interventions in key area (Firearms, Emergency Departments, and in Large
Healthcare Systems) – cumulatively, we can expect to save nearly 20,000
lives through 2025.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation
is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to
promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in
1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers,
distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s
organizations and publishers. Through its Project ChildSafe program,
“Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” campaign and other initiatives, NSSF
promotes the safe and responsible use and storage of firearms and makes
available many firearm safety resources at ProjectChildSafe.org.

About AFSP
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by
suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through
education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through
research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by
suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and
with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters
in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates
30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. Learn more about
AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide
prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

3 thoughts on “Smart Move On The Part Of NSSF Regarding Suicide”

  1. As a mental health professional and a gun owner, I applaud this initiative. More than half of all firearms-related deaths in the United States involve firearms; increased attention to depression and increasing access to treatment in a manner than does not stigmatize the sufferer can only be a good thing. Unfortunately, civilian disarmament groups discourage people from seeking treatment by demanding that anyone who experiences any degree of depression be stripped of their civil liberties and means to protect themselves, with no requirement to show that they are a danger to themselves or others.

  2. As a mental health professional and a gun owner, I applaud this initiative. More than half of all firearms-related deaths in the United States involve firearms; increased attention to depression and increasing access to treatment in a manner than does not stigmatize the sufferer can only be a good thing. Unfortunately, civilian disarmament groups discourage people from seeking treatment by demanding that anyone who experiences any degree of depression be stripped of their civil liberties and means to protect themselves, with no requirement to show that they are a danger to themselves or others.

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