The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is partnering with a national suicide prevention organization, called the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The subject of suicide is a sensitive one, especially among gun rights advocates. And while many gun owners recognize the problem — that some two-thirds of all firearms deaths are self-inflicted — they are also wary of any effort to reduce those types of incidents.
What is important to pro-gun organizations is that their partners do not attempt to push an anti-gun agenda.
Gun dealers certainly are not behavioral psychologists “and we don’t expect them to be,” Sanetti said, but in educating gun shop employees and others on how to recognize some of the signs of suicidal intent, unnecessary deaths can be prevented.
To accomplish this, the groups have created a public service announcement video to spread online and across social media. In it, the phrase “Talk Saves Lives” is used to emphasize people who may seem suicidal should be engaged. Pamphlets a facilitator guide and website were also created.
Oftentimes, the state of being suicidal is a temporary condition and “once that urge to commit suicide … passes, they are not likely going to try again,” Sanetti said.
Tuesday’s announcement comes after a trial pilot program that started last August. It was implemented in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and New Mexico.