Suicide is a touchy subject in the gun community. After all, we know that people take their lives with firearms all the time. We here at Bearing Arms are well aware of this fact, unfortunately.
We also know that the number of people who claim their own lives with guns is often used to try and push for gun control.
So I welcome anything that tries to reduce gun-related suicides, such as this program in Missouri.
The nonprofit Missouri Foundation for Health and the Ad Council are launching a public service campaign to reduce gun-related suicides in the state.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, 49% of the 1,400 Missourians killed by gunfire died by suicide. Starting this week, people in the St. Louis region will see online and television ads educating about safe storage of firearms.
“As we were thinking about how to address suicide prevention, what really rose the top is the lethality of of firearms,” Missouri Foundation for Health Senior Strategist Jessi LaRose said. “When they’re involved in a suicide really increases the chance that that person will die by suicide. It is by far the most lethal means.”
The End Family Fire Missouri campaign, created with the Brady Center, reminds gun owners to keep firearms locked away, unloaded and separate from ammunition. Named for former White House Press Secretary Jim Brady and his wife, Sarah, the organization is one of the oldest gun safety groups in the country. Jim Brady was among those shot during a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
Yes, I know, it’s Brady, which makes much of this suspect.
However, this isn’t Brady trying to push for a law. If the organization relegated itself to just doing things like this, I wouldn’t have an issue with them.
Nor should anyone else.
Of course, this raises the question of just how much of a difference will this make?
Experts have said that even the delay of having to open a safe or remove a lock may be enough of a delay to cause them to rethink their actions and possibly stop them. If that’s true, then encouraging people to secure their guns when not in use may well make a difference.
Personally, I’m skeptical.
How much of what we know of this is survivorship bias–the people who tell us it was enough of a dealy for them to rethink things are just the handful that it actually was enough of a delay for–and how much is actual fact?
The truth is, we don’t really know.
Yet if Brady isn’t trying to mandate things and it may actually reduce the number of suicides, then so be it. They’re not going to push mandatory storage laws onto the people of Missouri, that’s for damn sure, so taking a more sane tactic may not be a bad thing.
We’ll need to watch them, though, because Brady won’t take a win and then do nothing. They’ll try to use any data that this works to try and mandate it, and then we’ll have a problem.
Until then, though, best of luck that this works.