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SOTG 364 - NRA Responsible for Suicides in America

(Photo Source: local21news.com)

Is the NRA responsible for the majority of suicides in the United States of America? That is the supposition and inference of a recent article published by the Washington Post.

We consider the question and pause to ask, did suicide exist before the invention of gunpowder?

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From local21news.com:

Police were called to an accidental shooting in Dauphin County early Monday morning.

Swatara Township police say they reported to the 1800 block of South 19th Street where they discovered a 17-year-old boy had shot himself.

The teen, from Harrisburg, accidentally shot himself in the leg while “adjusting” the gun he was carrying inside his sweatpants, according to police.

He is being treated at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The teen is facing charges.

Police have not yet recovered the gun used in this incident.

From www.washingtonpost.com:

It wasn’t the hardest phone call I’ve ever made, but it was certainly awkward. I was cold-calling the National Rifle Association. Because the NRA is well-known for offering gun safety training, I wanted to know whether the organization had ideas on how to reduce the number of firearm suicides. Half of all suicides in the United States are by firearm, and roughly two-thirds of all firearm deaths are suicides. Given the NRA’s opposition to virtually all gun regulation, I knew this was a touchy area.

A far harder call was the one I received from a Seattle police officer a few years earlier. The officer told me that my husband had ended his struggle with anxiety and depression with a single bullet. Suddenly, I was a 38-year-old widow and a single parent of two young children. I was left wondering how this had happened and whether it could have been prevented. I was deeply angry at myself, at my husband, at a treatment system that failed him and at a society that made it easy to buy a pistol. I wasn’t the best person to try to start a conversation with the NRA. No wonder it took me a few years to make the call.

But I learned a couple of surprising things from that call and the many follow-up meetings with a local NRA lobbyist and the executive director of the Second Amendment Foundation.

First, they were not just willing to talk but also willing to listen. There was a simple reason for their openness: They are no more immune from the pain of suicide than anyone else. Every year in the United States, about 750,000 of us experience a sudden disruption in our lives due to the suicide of a loved one or close friend. With such high rates of suicide, nearly all of us will be touched by the suicide of someone we know at some point in our lives. Gun rights advocates are no exception.

Second, I learned why the NRA had never focused its gun safety programs on suicide prevention. Like most of our society, it had bought into the myth that if someone wants to kill him or herself, there’s nothing you can do about it. But the opposite is true: Suicide is our nation’s most preventable cause of death when the right resources and services are in place.

Once we got past that misconception, the NRA and Second Amendment Foundation became active participants in a year-long conversation about reducing the number of suicides by firearm in Washington state. With the leadership of state Rep. Tina Orwall (D), we formed a working group that included gun rights advocates, public-health experts and individuals who have been affected by suicide.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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