I’m confused. How could FBI criminal background checks at gun ranges reduce suicides? I’m not confused about the fact that the federal government has no damn business collecting information about private citizens’ trips to the gun range (or gun purchases but don’t get me started). Or passing a law to counter a trend whose statistical incidence can easily be rounded to zero. Some ranges have tried more practical anti-suicide solutions (all on their own!). Some mandate that shooters looking to rent a gat must either bring a gun or a friend. I’m not convinced these policies reduce gun range suicides but I can tell you one thing for sure: the act is a very messy and traumatic business for those left behind. Absent ethical suicide parlors, I advise anyone who wants to kill themselves with a firearm to A) get immediate help and B) shoot themselves in private.

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41 Responses to FL Gun Range Suicides Leads to Calls for Background Checks

    • Very much agreed. As a psychological healthcare student and a firearms enthusiast, I would highly recommend that you should always advocate against suicide. Telling people to “get immediate help and shoot themselves in private” looks bad for the site and the community.

      • Determining your own destiny is the only control some people have over their lives. Once someone makes up their mind that they don’t want to live, there isn’t much you can do to stop them besides locking them up (taking that choice away). I’m not saying that suicide is a good way to solve a temporary problem, but taking that freedom away from someone is one step away from slavery. All that needs to be determined is if the suicide attempt is a call for attention/help, or if it is a genuine decision that has been determined after weighing all the options.

        • People who are determined to commit suicide are probably going to do it anyway, but they shouldn’t be encouraged nor given tips on how to do it.

          In some rare instances suicide might be the best choice, such as in cases of extreme physical suffering resulting from a terminal illness. But in most circumstances it’s not. People suffering from undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues should not be told to get help AND shoot themselves in private.

          Not that I think there’s any suicidal people reading the site that would take Robert’s advice. It just doesn’t make the armed intelligentsia look good when a prominent member is advocating that kind of thing, even in jest (if it was done in jest).

      • I don’t think he is advocating it as a choice – he simply said if that is your choice, do it in private. I think you are reading into his comment a bit.

        • +1

          Lighten up folks! And stop being SO SO concerned about what others MIGHT think about us. The ones who hate us, are just gonna hate, no matter what.

  1. Last time I checked I had not registered with the government my intent or non-intent to ever commit suicide. Not really sure where that box is that I should tick anyway.

    I think the “bring a gun” tactic could work with rentals. It shows that the person already owns a firearm, thereby they aren’t just renting it beause they don’t have access to a firearm.

    • Agree. After the market crashed in 2008 there were several suicides at a range in Bellevue, WA. Depressed corporate-types who didn’t own guns went to the range alone, rented a pistol, and ended it. Since then the range requires you to bring a friend or bring your own pistol if you want to rent. The range in Tacoma requires the same thing. Makes sense to me.

    • You will be turning away a lot of potential new shooters, those who are curious, don’t have any gun friends and are not ready to make a large purchase before they know what they may like.

      • Agreed.

        Read any forum where someone asks about buying their first gun, and almost always the person gets recommended to go to a range and rent guns to see which one they like the most.

        To require someone to bring a gun with them pretty much eliminates the whole point.

        I went through this very situation. I work odd hours, and my days off are during the middle of the week. Which means that my friends (I’m assuming the automatic response to this is “take a friend with you”) are all at work. So I had to go alone. The ranges in my immediate area required me to bring a friend. Which I could not do. So I had to drive over an hour away to go to a range that didn’t require me to do that.

        Subsequently… I’ve bought 5 guns from that shop as a result of my trying them out there.

      • That is the drawback, I agree. I was lucky to have a gun friend to help me with what I was looking for.

        In the end there is no real solution to the issue that won’t cause a problem or have a drawback. You can’t predict what people will do.

      • Actually, there’s already a solution to that at many (most?) ranges. Take a beginner’s class. In the case of my local range, once you’ve passed a basic-level class you can come back and rent firearms solo.

        If anyone has an argument against a prospective gun owner taking a basic firearms safety class before renting guns solo, I’d like to hear it.

  2. Another area in which regulation is unnecessary as the industry has made its own chages to effectuate the intent of the proposed law without expense, without delay, and without intruding into one’s privacy.

  3. Do not kill yourself in private, with or without a gun. I’ve related here before about the little girl that found her uncle that had killed himself with a pistol to the head. That little girl should be an adult now. I’m willing to bet she still has nightmares.

    • So Uncle Bob should just go on having a crap life for several more decades because little Susie might have a few nightmares?

      • What kind of life have you had to make a statement like that? If you’re older than 13 try to sound like it in your comments.

        • Right, because it’s immature to think that a person should have a say in their life, as opposed to your philosophy of “Your life isn’t your own – you only get to make decisions that I think will benefit other people”.

  4. The ultimate goal of any new laws on gun rentals would be to outlaw gun rentals. Frankly I’m surprised they are not proposing this already.
    The range near me had one last year and the guy brought his own gun in. Why he would go to the range and do this? He wanted it to look like an accident not a suicide but the cameras told a different story.

  5. Committing suicide that way is just plain mean-spirited. If you want to end your life, do it cleanly. Why traumatize those who have to clean up the spattered bits of your brain?

  6. The solution is obvious, make a law against committing suicide using a rented gun, that’ll stop these tragedies.

    No, wait, pass a law against committing suicide by any means. that’s the ticket!

    And if that doesn’t work, charge the gun maker, the bullet maker and the gun store with actual murder! Cause they might as well have pulled the trigger themselves!

    I feel much more insane now that I tryed to think like the normal anti-gun fanatic.

  7. Will gas stations and hardware stores have to do the same? People use cars and ropes and natural gas to kill themselves. In addition, as pointed out, this happens a few times a year. Seeking new laws makes no sense, especially in consideration of how long background checks take already.

  8. October 20 will mark six years that my best friend shot and killed himself. If he could have looked into the future and seen how what he did effected his parents and friends, I’m sure he would have reconsidered (at least I hope he would have). I still say a prayer for him everyday, but he’s still gone forever.

  9. I don’t have a problem with the option b.) Do it in private.

    To take the “just don’t do it” approach is naive and “just say no” has not worked… with anything…. ever.

  10. Seems like the “bring a friend” or “bring a gun option” is just to eliminate liabilty from the range, because if someone already has a gun, he will commit suicide sans the rental and if he brings a friend, he can still kill himself or simply find a different way. This prevents nothing in the end.

    If they want to help, sponsor some suicide prevention walks that are practically everywhere these days and get some awareness posters with numbers people can call or services they can use.

    Suicide for many is a last resort because they feel their is nobody they can turn to and often they may not want to burden family and friends.

  11. Deep, profound question. What truly blows me away (sic) is how anyone could possibly believe that another rule, law or ordinance is going to stop the suicide of one who is determined. banning gun rentals does not achieve anything other than forcing the prospective suicide to choose another way out. Killing oneself is already illegal, getting help only more so. I work for a Major Hotel Franchisee, and even there we see people who check in, but do not check out. when the room is searched, body, gun, loud t.v., or radio. See, it has happened more than once. We’ve already had a couple of alcohol and pill deaths as well, no gun required. My point is simple, you can ban guns, knives, ropes, poisons, drugs, alcohol, cars, rooftops, tools, glass, as we can see there are a lot of options for saying bye bye to the third rock. Making one unavailable will only create a search for an alternate option.

  12. This article stands as evidence supporting a disturbing hypothesis of mine. Namely, that the mainstream news media is just another government agency. CIA, NSA, DHS, and MSNBC. The mainstream media has taken upon itself to ensure that the people of America are properly guided down the civilized path of government-led society. If they have to cut a tape of an interview with a gun owner and make the occasional firearm-related suicide look like a “rash” of incidents, so be it. As far as the media’s concerned the end of a disarmed America justify the means-an attitude not uncommon in the halls of Washington D.C.

  13. Do car & plane rentals have to deal with this crap? Do parachuting/sailing agencies have to deal with this crap? Do Scuba places have to deal with this crap? I can think of many ways to off myself that involve renting someone else’s property long enough to execute on my intention.

    Yes it does suck for those businesses. But going down the old usual route of trying (and failing) to fix the symptom instead of the disease is not the answer – especially given how infrequent these events really are. But guess what? Keep denying people access to firearms and limiting there alternative choices, the incidents of renta-death will actually increase, not decrease.

    No one is advocating suicide, but being short of any access to some form of clean self-euthanasia process, people will do whatever it takes. And while telling someone bent on that course to do it in private makes sense, I also doubt that anyone that cares so little for their own existence is going to give a crap about how some business owner and his customers feel about the aftermath.

  14. The indoor range I visit most often has the “if you are new, bring a friend or a gun” rule. There have been no suicides at the range since it went into effect, whereas prior to the rule there were several. Good enough for me.

  15. As a tourist travelling on my own this could be awkward for me as I’ll want to have some fun at a rental gun range in Houston next year prior to the NRA meetings.

  16. I happen to live in Florida and have frequented a range that has had a policy of bring a friend or bring a gun. Before I had purchased my first gun it was kind of annoying. I had to wait for my friends to be available to go to the range. Once I bought my first gun, I just show up there and show them I own a gun and they’re ok with it. Even if I don’t even plan on shooting my gun, and even if what I bring is a 10/22 and want to rent their 1911 they’re ok with it. I think it’s more of just a security blanket for the range to help them sleep better at night. I don’t see why someone that obviously doesn’t care about their life, or what happens after they’re gone, would care if they committed suicide with a friend, or on their own, but I don’t really understand that stuff.

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