Depending on the year and who’s doing the counting, there are about 21,000 firearms-related suicides in the US each year. That’s about half of the total number of suicides and roughly two-thirds of all firearms-related deaths. There’s plenty of evidence that if guns aren’t available, those bent on taking their own lives will choose another method. But that isn’t to say that steps can’t be taken to reduce the number of deaths. Which is why the National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced a new partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Here’s their press release:
NEW YORK, N.Y. – A new partnership between the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms industry, will allow for both organizations 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.
According to recently released data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all suicides were by firearm in 2014, and suicide accounted for almost two-thirds of gun deaths in the same year. In addition, 90 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal. By working together to develop and deliver suicide-prevention resources, AFSP and NSSF hope to help stem this loss of life.
“This partnership has been a true collaboration since we started conversations last year. AFSP sees this relationship as critical to reaching the firearms community,” said Robert Gebbia, AFSP CEO. “One of the first areas identified through Project 2025 was a need to involve the gun-owning community in suicide prevention. By joining forces with NSSF, we reach both firearm owners and sellers nationwide to inform and educate them about suicide prevention and firearms, and offer specific actions they can do to prevent suicide. Through Project 2025 analysis and the work of this partnership, we know that this public education has the potential to save thousands of lives.”
“The firearms industry has long been at the forefront of successful accident-prevention efforts and programs aimed at reducing unauthorized access to firearms. Since two-thirds of all fatalities involving firearms are suicides, we are now also in the forefront of helping to prevent these deaths through our new relationship with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF President and CEO.
Currently, the two organizations are collaborating on this initiative through AFSP’s firearm and suicide prevention pilot program, which involves six AFSP chapters, located in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and New Mexico. The goal is to take the program nationwide within two years.
More about Project 2025
Launched in October 2015, Project 2025 is a high-impact, collaborative initiative developed by AFSP, aimed at the organization’s bold goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. Using a dynamic systems model designed by CALIBRE Systems, AFSP has determined a series of actions and critical areas reaching across all demographic and sociological characteristics to have the greatest impact for suicide prevention and the potential to save thousands of lives within the next 10 years.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 13,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. Through its Project ChildSafe program, “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” campaign and other initiatives, NSSF promotes the safe and responsible use and storage of firearms and makes available many firearm safety resources at ProjectChildSafe.org.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.