Suicide Prevention Effort Aims To Get People In Crisis To Voluntarily Give Up Guns

NOEL KING, HOST: The number of people using guns to take their own lives is rising. Many public health officials offer this solution – take guns away from people in crisis. Leigh Paterson of member station KUNC visited a community in northern Colorado. And a quick note – this story runs about four minutes, and it discusses suicide. LEIGH PATERSON, BYLINE: Damon Hatfield lives in a small town called Craig. DAMON HATFIELD: Here’s my gun cabinet. PATERSON: Craig is known as the elk hunting capital of the world. HATFIELD: This is what they call a coach gun. This is an antique. PATERSON: But last summer, Damon gave his guns away. Now, a year later, he describes why he made that choice. It was the middle of the night… HATFIELD: I had to get up and use the restroom, and I couldn’t find my wife anywhere in the house. PATERSON: She was struggling with a terminal illness and ongoing mental health issues. Damon found her on the porch. HATFIELD: And I tried to wake her and I saw the gun on her chest, and it was the worst day of my life right there. PATERSON: She had killed herself. Damon managed to call 911. Police came. Then the victim advocate showed up. Their role is to support the survivor. So they asked him, do you have any guns in the home? HATFIELD: I’m like, well, yeah. And they said, well, we need to get them. I’m like, OK. You’re depressed. […]

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