With suicide accounting for nearly two-thirds of all firearm fatalities annually, the topic of suicide prevention deserves our attention. In recent years NSSF has worked with the Veterans Administration, the State of Utah and mental health agencies to help educate gun owners and the public on how to keep firearms safely out of reach of those who, during a period of despair, decide to do themselves harm.
Now is an appropriate time to broaden our efforts, which we have done in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Recently, NSSF and AFSP announced a partnership to embark on a first-of-its-kind national plan to build and implement public education resources for firearms retailers, shooting ranges and the firearms-owning community about suicide prevention and firearms.
And last week AFSP provided more details on its four-state pilot program that will involve firearms retailers and shooting ranges utilizing AFSP-NSSF jointly developed strategies and resources to provide materials to firearm owners about warning signs, prevention resources and secure firearms storage options. Also discussed in the press release is AFSP’s Project 2025, an initiative to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025—an effort that NSSF supports.
Experts tell us that suicide results from the culmination of several health and life factors, with the decision to act often being made in minutes. Keeping firearms securely stored puts space between the period of risk and the means to act, and sometimes that space can help save a life.
You will be hearing more about AFSP and NSSF efforts in this area.