I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to see us reduce the number of suicides we see in this country. Even one is too many and far too many of us have known someone who took their own life.
So it’s no surprise that Vermont is posing legislation supposedly meant to do just that.
I say “supposedly” because, as the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Affairs notes, their approach is pretty much just gun control.
This week, the Vermont House Judiciary Committee is discussing H.230, An act relating to implementing mechanisms to reduce suicide. This bill includes extreme anti-gun measures such as red flag laws, arbitrary waiting periods, and so-called “safe-storage” laws. We are seeing a wave of anti-gun testimony from gun-control groups in Vermont and we need you to step up and make your voice heard.
There’s just one slight problem. None of those measures actually do much of anything.
At best, it simply pushes people to other methods of taking their own life. While guns might be the most effective means of doing that, they’re far from the only effective means. There are some pretty surefire methods out there that this measure does nothing to address.
Vermont is weird when it comes to guns–they have universal background checks but constitutional carry, after all–so it’s hard to say definitively that this will or won’t pass, though I’m inclined to think it will.
Yet all it will do is make things more difficult for law-abiding gun owners, not those who are suicidal.
Red flag laws are supposed to be great for preventing suicide, yet all it really does is take away someone’s guns, thus likely to make them feel more down and depressed than they were before. It does nothing to address their mental health.
Waiting periods sound like a good idea, but a lot of suicides are anything but spur-of-the-moment decisions. They’re planned out, which means someone can start the process and will easily wait a few days before killing themselves.
Yet waiting periods also mean those who are concerned about their safety are forced to wait as well, making them vulnerable. A battered wife or girlfriend can’t get a gun when she needs one, resulting in her murder at the hands of her estranged significant other, for example.
Mandatory storage laws–they are not safe storage rules and I won’t call them that no matter what the media tries to run with, even in quotation marks–require people to lock their guns up without regard for their individual situation.
A gun that’s locked up is a gun that’s not readily accessible when it’s needed.
Vermont is pushing this kind of thing, but it won’t do what they think it will. In fact, it may actually be responsible for the loss of more innocent lives than it might potentially save.
Suicide is a problem, but making people vulnerable to homicide doesn’t exactly sound like a winning solution to me. There are better ways to address this problem. If only Vermont were interested in looking at them.