Firearms Industry, Gun Rights Advocate Taking Lead On Suicide Prevention

By Dave Workman

When it comes to “gun safety,” there are two distinct types: the gun control and prohibition efforts that disguise themselves as safety measures, and the real deal; leaders in the firearms industry and Second Amendment movement who are interested in saving lives while preserving the rights of law-abiding Americans.

At the 2016 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reported on its cooperative effort with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). This makes sense because, according to Dr. Christine Moutier, AFSP’s chief medical officer, “nearly 50 percent” of all suicides are committed with firearms.

Out in Washington State, where Alan Gottlieb with the Second Amendment Foundation has been spearheading a state level suicide prevention effort with specialists in the field, suicide-by-firearm accounts for better than 70 percent of all firearm-related deaths. That state passed a law in 2016 to create a suicide prevention effort involving SAF, the National Rifle Association, gun dealers, firearm instructors, suicide prevention experts, psychiatrists and pharmacists.

NSSF President Steve Sanetti, who was the subject of an exclusive interview with Insider Online in last week’s segment, said in a prepared statement, “Our partnership with AFSP allows us to expand our decades-long firearms safety efforts to include suicide prevention education. As the industry’s trade association with more than 12,000 members, we want to help. By making gun owners and the public more aware of suicide and responsible firearm storage, we are confident that we will help save lives.”

NSSF said a suicide prevention pilot program is underway in four states, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and New Mexico. Washington’s effort is a separate project.

One thing that people in the Evergreen State have discovered is that passage of Initiative 594 in 2014 has created a problem, in that firearms transfers — with but a few exceptions — require background checks. But, as some of those involved in the suicide prevention effort and Sanetti have realized, intervention by friends who may volunteer to take possession of someone’s guns while they work through their emotional issues becomes impossible in an emergency. They’re trying work through this problem in Washington while the Legislature is meeting.

Not surprisingly, Sanetti and Gottlieb have told Insider Online separately that, “this isn’t about guns, it’s about saving lives and preventing tragedies.” Brilliant minds evidently do think alike.

There’s a web page (see the link below) that offers an overview of the AFSP suicide prevention program. It might be worth a look. As anti-gunners are fond of saying, “if it saves just one life.”

Massachusetts Rights Group Sues Over ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and the state’s anti-gun Attorney General Maura Healey are on the receiving end of a federal lawsuit filed by the Gun Owners Action League in January that challenges the state’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

In addition to GOAL, plaintiffs include licensed gun dealers. The Boston Globe noted tat defendants also include the state’s public safety secretary and the State Police.

GOAL attorney Jay Porter told the newspaper that “The level of hostility to the gun-owning public in the state of Massachusetts has grown to be intolerable. At this point, it had grown to the level where litigation had become necessary. At some point, if you have a fundamental right, you have to protect it.”

Insider wasn’t there back in 1775 when Massachusetts — then one of 13 colonies — became the first playing field for the American Revolution, but Porter’s remarks seem reminiscent of the situation back then. Instead of forming a militia on the village green at Lexington or the bridge at Concord, gun owners go to court. It takes longer, but it’s not nearly as noisy.

This case could set up the state’s gun control law for a Second Amendment challenge. With Donald Trump nominating the next high court justice, that case might have some interesting results.

The Bay State ban was first passed in 1998. It was “reaffirmed” in 204, the newspaper recalled.

Updated CCW Stats

Here’s a little information that invariably makes for interesting conversation at neighborhood wine and brie parties: more than six percent of all American adults are licensed to carry.

If that doesn’t raise a few eyebrows or draw some gasps, that number rises above 10 percent in ten states, and overall, more than 15 million citizens are packing, according to the NRA.

The Crime Prevention Research Center says there are now a dozen states where people can carry without a permit in nearly every location.

That Didn’t Last Long

You probably didn’t hear about this sad news: One of the people whose prison sentence for a drug crime was commuted by former President Barack Obama back in November did not enjoy his freedom long.

The CBS affiliate in Detroit reported that Damarlon Thomas, 31, was gunned down at a federal halfway house in Saginaw. The two guys responsible reportedly held about two dozen people at gunpoint while they located Thomas and shot him several times.

Thomas was a former gang member in Saginaw. He was doing a 19-year stretch on a 2008 cocaine conviction when Obama commuted his sentence, which would have expired in March.

Why Didn’t He Just Get An Apartment?

A Kansas City, Kansas man may have redefined the term “desperation” when he robbed a bank and told investigators that he’d rather be in prison than at home.

The Associated Press reported this little drama, noting that the man is 70 years old, so presumably he based his conclusion on years of experience.

The heist was back in September and it only netted this fellow, identified as Lawrence Ripple, about $3,000. Adding to the bizarre nature of this caper, he reportedly took a seat in the lobby and told a guard that he was their man. He reportedly told an FBI agent that the whole thing started as a fight with his wife, and he’d written her a note that said he’d rather be in the slammer.

When he appeared in court to enter a guilty plea in January, the wife was with him. He reportedly faces 20 years behind bars.

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