By Tom Knighton
When anti-gunners prattle on about the total number of “gun deaths,” we tend to respond that roughly two-thirds of those deaths are suicides. We say that because it’s true. There are more than 20,000 suicides each year that involve a firearm.
Now, some gun sellers are working with suicide prevention activists to try and reduce that number.
Gun dealers, range owners and firearms instructors have found that suicide prevention fits into their mission to promote the safe use of guns. Hundreds of them around the country now share suicide-prevention literature, emphasize prevention techniques in their concealed-carry classes, teach workers to recognize distress among customers and welcome prevention advocates to firearm trade shows.
This seemingly unlikely partnership has unfolded quietly, in contrast to the public divisiveness that typically characterizes the debate over gun violence. It originated from mental health researchers and advocates, who see curbing firearm suicides ─ which make up more than half of all suicides in America, or nearly 23,000 in 2016 ─ as integral to reducing the number of firearm deaths.