Gun advocates take the lead in embracing suicide prevention message

Gun advocates take the lead in embracing suicide prevention message

Jennifer Stuber co-founded Forefront Suicide Prevention two years after her husband, Matt, killed himself with a gun he had just purchased. Firearms instructor Brett Bass grew up in a gun-owning household. He joined the Marines, became an expert marksman, and found himself employed as a gun range manager in a Seattle suburb. One day, his boss at the Bellevue Gun Club received an invitation for a forum on suicide prevention and gun violence. He suggested Bass go instead. When Bass showed up, he was the only firearms expert on a daylong agenda put together by a gun-control group. Efforts to reduce U.S. gun violence are largely framed around homicides and mass shootings, so gun owners and non-gun owners alike often are surprised to learn that most U.S. gun deaths are suicides. About half of all suicides are completed with guns, even though firearms are used in only 1 percent of suicide attempts. People at highest risk of firearm suicide belong to gun-owning households, not because they are more likely to attempt suicide, but because those attempts are more likely to be fatal. In a home, the single biggest predictor of death by suicide is an unlocked and loaded gun, which increases suicide risk by 300 percent, multiple studies have shown. In June, a 12-year study of 26 million California residents found men who owned handguns were three times as likely to die by suicide than those who did not own handguns, while women handgun owners had a seven times […]

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