Washington, D.C. – Today, as part of National Suicide Prevention Week, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) introduced the Gun Suicide Prevention Act to address the alarming rate of suicides by firearms, particularly among veterans. This bill would require firearm manufacturers and retailers to include warning labels that provide the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
“Our nation’s gun violence epidemic is tearing communities apart, and far too often, the debate surrounding gun safety overlooks the role that guns play in suicide. There are a number of heart-wrenching statistics around suicide with guns. One is that guns are extremely effective in suicide attempts. The other is that 75% of those who do not die by suicide, never attempt suicide again. Veterans, not surprisingly, are more likely to use a gun in an attempted suicide attempt, and are therefore, sadly, more likely to succeed.
“Oftentimes, making a connection with another person when in crisis can make all the difference in saving a life. By labeling every firearm with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, we can help provide that critical connection for people and remind those in a moment of crisis that there is always someone they can turn to for help,” said Congresswoman Brownley.
The Gun Suicide Prevention Act will require a new warning label on firearms that reads: “WARNING: IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE, PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE AT” followed by the toll-free number, currently 800-273-8255 (TALK).
This legislation is supported by the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
“Suicide by firearm tragically claims the lives of more than 22,000 Americans each year and more than half of all suicides occur by firearm. The Gun Suicide Prevention Act works to provide individuals with the critical help they need when they need it most,” said the American Association of Suicidology. “We are thankful to Representative Brownley for her efforts to help protect the lives of our friends, families, and loved ones with this act.”
“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) thanks Congresswoman Brownley for her leadership,” said John H. Madigan, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “AFSP supports any and all efforts to educate gun owners about suicide prevention and to get help if they need it.”
“Firearm suicide is a public health crisis in the United States. Every day, more than 60 Americans die by firearm suicide. Gun owners need to be well-informed about the link between gun ownership and firearm suicide and equipped with the resources to respond in a crisis situation,” said Dakota Jablon, MHS, Director of Federal Affairs, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “We are proud to support Congresswoman Brownley in her efforts to prevent firearm suicide — an often overlooked but devastating form of gun violence.”
Read more about the bill, here.