Waving a “red flag” at reducing gun suicides

Waving a "red flag" at reducing gun suicides

West Virginians — citizens and their elected representatives in Congress and the Legislature — ought to pay attention to new research that shows gun suicides declined significantly in Connecticut and Indiana after lawmakers in those two states passed laws allowing police to temporarily confiscate firearms from individuals determined to be a threat to themselves or others. And data released this week gives new urgency to the matter here at home: An analysis conducted by the Violence Policy Center ranked the Mountain State No. 5 among all states with the highest gun suicide rates. The analysis said states with weak gun violence prevention laws and higher rates of gun ownership have the highest gun suicide rates in the nation. In other words, welcome to West Virginia: With household gun ownership in West Virginia among the leaders at 57.6 percent, and with permissive laws governing the open or concealed carrying of firearms in public, the state is prime territory for self-inflicted tragedy. It’s time we change that. There is much that could and should be done to ameliorate the incidence of gun violence in society. Here is a proven solution. “Red flag” laws allow law enforcement, family members, close associates or friends to petition for a restraining order against a person whom they believe to be dangerous. The process can lead to the temporary confiscation of a person’s firearms. Much of the debate around red flag laws has been focused on disarming a potential mass murderer. And in the case of […]

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