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“Reducing access to lethal means has been proven to save lives. Just as a person should be willing to turn over the car keys when not fit to drive, one should be willing to turn over their firearm for safekeeping until he or she feels fit again.” – Head of the Navy Suicide Prevention Branch, Capt. Mike Smith in Navy: Store Guns of Sailors at Risk of Suicide [at military.com]

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62 Responses to Quote of the Day: Anchors Aweigh Edition

  1. Wow, this is tricky. I am currently holding on to one for a buddy, for this very reason. It’s a mess, really; can I trust him that he won’t hurt himself when he wants it back? I am not a shrink, and I am not convinced one would have a good answer anyway. My plan is; he’s a grown ass man, if he wants it back it’s his property, he’s getting it back. If it starts collecting dust, I’ll make him an offer to buy.

    • And because he is a grown ass man, this concept is at the core of why I think government, health care, and other large institutions need to butt the hell out of involvement with suicidal ideation/intentions. The choice to end our life when we choose and on our own terms is the most basic freedom we all possess.

      Gun controller agendas, healthcare providers with caregiveritis, agenda-baiting politicians have no business in getting involved in something that is a personal item and not a societal one.

      If someone wants help, it is available. If they don’t, leave them be.

      • Exactly. Each person gets to decide if their life is worth living, no one else. If Johnny decides that he’s tired of working 10 hour days with no hope of retirement and his wife left him, he has every right to decide to kill himself if he thinks it’s a better option than continuing down his current path.

        • Attempted suicide is a crime…
          My thought is that of the hundreds of ways people can intentionally kill themselves, guns may be a common choice but by no means the only one. Suicide rates in the UK and Australia did not go down after they banned personal firearm ownership…

        • The government believes that you are property of the state so that is why they go to such extreme measures. I think its morally and biblically wrong to end your own life, but that is between you and God, not the government. And inmates, the officials go even crazier trying to prevent prisoners from ending their lives. The staff act as though a prisoner going on a hunger strike or ending their life is the same as escaping from the prison.

        • Attempted suicide is not a crime in California, but assisting a suicide is. Hmmm. The issue with prisons is different–prisons owe a legal duty top provide for the medical needs of inmates, including mental health treatment, and failing to prevent an inmate suicide is usually a basis for a lawsuit by his heirs. (Funny how some people are worth more dead than alive.)

        • Scrubula, since our lives belong to the state, suicide is willful destruction of state property.

          I wonder why “progressives” treat children as adults, and adults as children.

    • Let’s put it this way, did he also hand over all his knives, car keys, Rx drugs, lengths of rope, and credit cards to buy more? If you can’t trust someone with a gun, how can you trust them with anything

      Good luck with your friend, have him seek professional help, and I wish you the best.

    • ya, it’s tricky I you want it to be.

      If you can’t be trusted with your firearms, then no one can be trusted with your firearms.

      You can play “Let’s all try to think of ways where it might be cool to confiscate firearms” after you finish thoroughly f-ing yourself with something sharp and heavy.

  2. The new guidance states that commanders “may inquire about, collect and record information about a service member’s privately-owned firearms, ammunition or other weapons.” The article read happily and all kumbaya until the last sections.

      • SD3,

        It may not be a “free” society, but there are still rights within the system.

        As such, the issue for each front office is trying to deal with is that they can’t “take” what’s not offered or what they don’t know exists. For the service member, we don’t want our commands involved so many of them keep these issues internalized until SHTF in their lives.

        This should be handled at that whole “Lowest Level” concept. My neighbor (Also .mil) is experiencing a rough patch in life and although he’s not in that dark place yet, it is my responsibility to be his “shipmate” (Yeah, I’m Navy) and watch out for him.

        It doesn’t mean I need to be intrusive and make a no-knock raid on his house, but that I should ask how he’s doing and let him know I’m available in case things get rocky. That’s how all service members should watch out for each other, not a mandated top-down approach.

        But what do I know? I’ve only been doing this for 14 years and had several people I work with commit suicide in a system with CACOs, Suicide Prevention mandatory courses, and “intrusive leadership” in a very personal matter.

        • Man, you make some EXCELLENT points. I’d just like to amend one little section.

          “That’s how all of us should watch out for each other, not a mandated top-down approach.”

  3. Well in that case, maybe the Navy should just put suicidal individuals in a padded room, since there are a plethora of ways to kill oneself…
    Hoplophobic military is Hoplophobic…

      • I could have sworn it was 5th floor. A few months ago, I had to take a Sailor there and I got to wait. Though, despite all the training on suicide and various other problems, we still have them, perhaps a better approach?

  4. As it stands now, AD not only can’t possess private firearms on base, they also can’t bring aboard ammo or even spent casings. Off base, the DoD has no power over your ability to buy or possess a firearm.

    • Depends on the Base Commander. The rules are complicated and some Commanders don’t want the hassle. It is not completely prohibited as a DoD policy.

      • Correct.

        In my limited experience, most bases prohibit firearms in dormitories, but they are allowed to be kept in base housing, as long as the service member provides a list of all the firearms they intend to keep on base to Military Police / Security Forces, to include make, model, and serial number.

        Otherwise, service members must keep them off base, or in the base armory.

        I also have a military aquaintance who was informed by Security Forces at one base that he could not keep his entire collection in his base domicile, as he would have more firepower in his safe than SF had in theirs. They could not provide anything in writing to back this up, but stood firm on their decision.

        You sign away some of your rights when you sign the dotted line with DoD.

    • I realise my experience is 40+ years in the past. In my time we enlisted types that were living in the barracks, the ghetto as we termed it, were not allowed to keep private firearms in the barracks. We could take them to the MP armory. There was someone on duty 24/7 and unless we were stumbling drunk or otherwise acting the fool, they would indeed give them out on request.

      Situation was different when we deployed. Amazing the number of pistols and such that weren’t on the gubmint books that deployed with us.

      • I can see getting them back under those circumstances, but if you turned them ONLY because “I’m suicidal” I can envision about a dozen different excuses they could come up with to hang onto them, even when you return to your “right mind.”

  5. If you’re interested in something truly egregious, examine their policy on domestic violence accusations. All it takes is, a completely unsubstantiated accusation (no evidence required) of the threat or use of physical force, and your 2nd amendment “right” is summarily suspended, indefinitely.

  6. … one should be willing to turn over their firearm for safekeeping …

    Singular? Oh, why yes. Of course. My one gun. I’ll bring that right over.

  7. Funny, once this is done you have a flag in your jacket as being mentally unstable. Nice backdoor method for stripping people of their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

  8. There is a huge difference between surrendering car keys and a firearm. For starters, one’s right to drive is not enshrined in our founding documents. Next, there are usually tangible means to gauge ones ability to responsibly operate a motor vehicle (oui’s, multiple accidents). But when it comes to mental wellness, often times its a persons interpretation of your answers and actions. Yes, there are visible signs of illness like cutting, and such, but often not where our service members are concerned.
    I have to wonder if Capt. Smith would feel the same way if he were under scrutiny the same as the sailors under his command? Being a vet, I know full well officers are often times above the enlisted man’s burdens.
    Slippery slope for sure, but nothing some ‘common sense’ can’t fix I think.

    • Umm, driving is a right. For some reason we have allowed the govt to infringe on it, but that doesn’t mean it should be that way.

      • Travel is a right. Operation of a wheeled weapon on the public roadway is a privilege granted by the government. That’s why motorists are licensed but horsemen, bicyclists, and pedestrians are not.

        • Some municipalities require bicycle registration. St. Pete and Daytona Beach, FL for starters. Mo money, mo money.

      • THANK YOU! Yes, it IS a right, though not a protected one…since in our free society, we have freedom to choose our own path, and not where if it’s not mandatory, it’s forbidden

      • Driving (i.e., the right to travel) may well indeed be a right, but that is not a majority view right now, partially due to differing assumptions of the problem.

        Driving on public roads, however, is not a right. Just as you would not expect to travel on public transportation (train, bus) for free, as a right, you also should not expect to use any public thouroughfare without fees, licensing, registration, etc.

        As long as you drive on your own property, you may currently do so without a license, without registering your vehicle, and without insurance. You may also do so on other’s property, with their permission. Permission to operate on municipal, state, and federal road systems comes in the form of licensing, registration, and insurance.

        This is where the anti-gunner “register them like cars” analogy fails. Assuming a licensing scheme is included, the combo of “license and registration” would allow both carry and employment in public locations by default. Everyone who owns a firearms would be a licensed & registered Carrier.

        Insurance is also a red herring. You can injure/kill people with a car without commiting a crime (accident). With a firearm, any discharge that results in injury or death that isn’t justifiable under law is a crime. Firearm liability insurance is therefore both redundant and useless.

        • I have enjoyed gaving an operators licence for years, a little card that with minimal restrictions allows me to operate a vehicle in public. No questions asked no judtification needed. If I could get an operators licence for a firearm I would jump at it!

      • So many things people confuse with “rights.” Driving on gov owned roads is a privilege. You can’t do it until you pass a written and practical test and get your permission slip. Private property? No tag no license needed. Operating your privately owned vehicle on privately owned property is a right.

        Just make sure you understand the difference between driving and the rights specifically recognized by our Constitution, which the gov may not infringe. Except they have… All of them.

  9. Of course, when you’re sober the next morning you get your car keys back. Since that isn’t the case when you surrender your guns, most will be reluctant to do the sensible thing….

  10. Who gets to decide who is fit? If the current DHS is deciding, then everyone who who believes the constitution including the second amendment, protect the rights of individuals against government infringement of those rights is not fit to own a firearm.
    DHS puts Christians and the Tea Party ahead of actual terrorists on it lethal threat assessment list.
    Bubba Clinton did the same thing. (And his biotch wife would do the same)
    So, who gets to decide?

    • You hit on the very crux of the issue. This is how Democrats have been planning to strip Americans of our weapons for a long time. It began with their push in the ’70s to put the mentally ill in the streets instead of keeping them in hospitals where they could be treated and were not a danger to others or themselves. Once they can exercise, unrestricted, the power to strip people of property(weapons, vehicles, homes) without due process, well, then they will be off to the races. And they do not need to control Congress or White House or state legislatures. All they will need is like minded people in positions in governmental bureaucracy. And they have been loading that with their fellow travelers for a long time now.

  11. Sailors have been prescribed Wellbutrin, a well known psychotropic, for smoking cessation and had their weapon qualifications suspended until the Medical Department is convinced there are no suicidal urges. Medical only cares about the health bottom line. Assigned duties and Constitution rights do not enter into the equation. I always told my sailors to keep quiet about privately owned firearms IRT Medical issues. I also had an E-5 working for me commit suicide with a gun. I was the one who found his body at his apartment when he failed to show up for work. Not a sight I wish to see again. Freedom of choice is the most important aspect of our Country. Even the freedom to make stupid ass choices.

  12. If military intends to kill themselves they should be out of the military. They can do it without a gun. The whole concept of unarmed military is insane. I would be much more concerned about a soldier killing others.

    • This is part of a huge “suicide awareness” push throughout DoD.

      In case you hadn’t seen it in the news, the leading cause of death among service members for the last two years is suicide. For the 8 years previous, it was deaths related to combat in OEF/OIF. Military suicides went up dramatically in 2012, the reasons for which can be assumed, but not proven.

      DoD is trying to protect assets. One of the most expensive to replace is people. A suicide is also devastating to the rest of the unit, in many cases, so the results are even broader than just those members lost.

  13. The government is not your friend. Your employer is not your buddy. Your government-employer is something so far removed from anything resembling a friend or buddy, that you should be wary of every single interaction with it.

    If you’re at the point where removal of yourself from the vicinity of firearms is warranted, then you’re well past the point of responsibly conducting your own affairs. You should be removed from regular society, not simply firearms removed from your control, and provided the treatment necessary to facilitate your recovery and return to society.

    This little, pseudo-voluntary “I’m feeling blue, so can you hold my sidearm” shtick is a cynical manipulation of an individual’s momentary confusion. It will rob him of his rights immediately and haunt him like a pal permanently. This is but the latest in a long line of shameful scams our military has perpetrated upon those who serve.

  14. Wow, what a shocker, a career military officer wanting people to store their guns in the armory. I would be shocked if any of them said the opposite.

  15. There was some scuttlebutt about making Marines report whether they have personal weapons (specifically firearms) in response to the barracks shooting in Quantico last year. This would have applied to both on- and off-base housing. I believe the rebuttal was something along the lines of, “Mind your own f@*#ing business.” I doubt many would comply.
    http://archive.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20131125/NEWS/311250019/
    Some bases do allow on-base ownership–a Joint Base in SE VA allowed it, but decided to review their policy when a Gunny’s wife pulled his .45 on an intruder downstairs. It seems that the Base CO (USN) wasn’t aware of his own order. Not sure if they changed it though. DoD hands us plenty of rounds and allows open carry–overseas; they don’t trust us back home (except under strict guidelines or only on ranges).

  16. I proudly served as did my father and his before him. I have five kids and I actively dissuade them from serving in the military. The world has changed and my nation along with it.

  17. I hope a navy sailor in Washington State does this, and has his commander store his firearms in the base armory while he is having a rough time.

    Then, we can all watch the local police try to do a no-knock warrant on a navy base for violating state firearm transfer rules.

    • A military base does not belong to the state as it is federal property. Ergo state laws do not apply.

      That being said, the base usually defers to local law enforcement where it can.

  18. When a Marine or Sailor kills himself, the command pays the price. Every job is essential or legally mandated (like Sexual Assault Response Coordinator) so losing any one person directly affects deploy ability. This effect on readiness is exaggerated by the fact that few units deploy with even 80 percent of what they should have and don’t spend the 3 to 1 time at home to deployment ratio that is necessary for good readiness (the true ratio is about half of that).

    This is why career officers worry about suicides and motorcycles because they are the leading causes of death and those personnel cannot be replaced in time for deployment. Additionally, of those that attempt using other methods, most are unsuccessful, but firearm suicides attempts don’t exist because they are all completed.
    I think most officers would love to ban access to guns and motorcycles.

    • They can ban and control whatever they want for enlisted men on post or deployment. That’s what you sign up for when you enlist, to be at the Federal Government’s beck and call. Just keep their restrictions on post for enlisted. Those are the only people officers have authority over.

  19. To clarify, almost all units manage to deploy ready, but have to jump through hoops and make incredible sacrifices to make it happen. Any person who puts those efforts in jeopardy by being a suicide risk is very selfish and violates their oath to protect this country. Unit commanders have to do everything they can to be ready. Restricting access to weapons for suicidal personnel is a very small sacrifice.

    • During my 21 years in the Navy, pregnancy was far more of a deployment manning issue than suicides. Those officers who publicly advocate for motorcycle and firearm restrictions would never do the same for mandatory IUD or reversible 5 year birth control.

  20. “… A person should be willing to turn over the car keys when not fit to drive …”

    Yeah, because people are totally willing to do that. That’s why in my area of Florida we have prosecuted over 75,000 DUI cases this year so far. That’s right more then 75,000 case went to court. People totally turn over their keys…. They don’t get so drunk they drive on the express way going the wrong way and kill people in head on collisions (That’s happened 4 times since June here as well). I have really lost all tolerance for the cars and guns comparisons at this point. Every day I get on the road at least 2 people texting (or drunk, or on a road rage) inadvertently (or possibly purposefully) try to kill me, but I never hear anyone talk about car bans or car control. I’m really getting sick of it. Driving isn’t a Right.

  21. Never seen pregnancy be a deployment issue. Sounds to me like weak junior officers who fail to instill a sense of purpose and teamwork in their personnel

    • I’ve seen damn few JOs with that ability. Especially in the SWO community. Mostly it was the Chief’s role to instill those traits and there is quite a few E7s out there in the Modern, Kinder, Gentler U.S. Navy. There is a difference and some will know it. Still, there is always that chance a young female Sailor decides to exercise her own freewill and get pregnant to avoid deployment. Didn’t happen often but far more than suicides. YMMV.

  22. Read the article. It said suggest sailors consider voluntarily turn over custody, temporarily.

    I don’t see that as a conspiracy. I do understand political pressure can be applied top-down, from Commander-in-Chief through the Joint Chiefs to Commanders. As it always has been so, historically.

    I see this as part of a continuing effort to understand and deal this high rates of suicide in the Armed Forces, post sandbox. A lot of cognitive dissonance between the idealism that inspires service and the harsh reality of war, especially when so much lying goes on at the top. Its no wonder young men and women wonder what the point is, anyway. Changing out the Commander In Chief would help too, so if you care about vets, Keep Calm and Carry On, and remind your elected represntatives to protect the Constitution by honoring their oath, and impeaching Obama.

    If you want to change politics, you have to change the culture. ~ Andrew Breibart.

  23. Yes, someone who is suicidal should allow a trusted friend to hold a firearm, but that is made exceedingly hard by requiring private transfers to undergo a background check.
    I have room in my safe if a friend felt despondent and didn’t want a firearm in the home, but that’s not an option really in California. We would have to do the transfer at an FFL.

  24. If the Navy (or AF) are having a suicide problem can hardly blame it on combat in Afganistan. Aren’t any ships making a port party call in Kabul. Yes a tiny # of Seal and Corpsmen out in the weeds. And a few AF Pararescue types. But a significant number of unstable squids and zoomies out taking direct fire? NO.

    The Navy and AF were LONG ago TOTALLY neutered by the progressives as they hitched themselves to the demtards politically in an attempt to maintain their budgets. Slaves of massa every bit as much as any other constituency of the dem party.

    • Wow! Your utter ignorance at the role the Navy played in OIF and OEF is astounding. The multitudes of Sailors removed from their assigned commands and sent TAD to Iraq and Afghanistan are insulted. As well as Intelligence, Support Staff and Seabees. Some of those tiny number of SEALs spent more time in theater than any other service member.

      • Agree with surly!

        How many Navy personnel were in Kabul on planning staff? How many Seabees built schools for Afghans, built roads in Helmand, and built FOBs for Coalition Troops (often building these under fire)? How many Sailors used their dozers to clear IEDs and fix roads? How many Navy Liaison Officers went with Marines to Helmand? How many Navy medical and religious personnel served with Marines?

  25. “Just as a person should be willing to turn over the car keys when not fit to drive, one should be willing to turn over their firearm for safekeeping until he or she feels fit again.”

    I agree. Note however, that nowhere is it the law that someone HAS to turn over their car keys if they’re not feeling well.

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