NEWTOWN, Conn. — In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, and Project ChildSafe, NSSF’s national firearms safety education program, are reminding gun owners that securely storing their firearms could help save the life of someone going through a difficult time.
In addition to keeping guns away from those who shouldn’t have access to them, NSSF notes that reaching out to a person you’re concerned about can be extremely important. Research shows that asking someone if they are having suicidal thoughts will not put the person at greater risk. In most cases, it brings relief to those in need of help by showing that someone cares enough to bring it up. NSSF offers resources online to help identify warning signs and risk factors, how to locate assistance and tips on how to keep firearms secured and safely out of reach.
“Given that two-thirds of firearms-related fatalities are suicides, firearms owners can play a role in helping to prevent these tragedies,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF’s President and CEO. “Understanding what to look for, having a brave conversation and securing firearms when not in use can help save lives.”
Last year, NSSF embarked on a collaborative partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) on a national firearms and suicide prevention program. NSSF and AFSP have worked systemically to disseminate suicide prevention education materials to firearms retailers, shooting ranges and their customers. NSSF supports AFSP’s Project 2025, an initiative to reduce the annual suicide rate in the United States 20 percent by the year 2025.
NSSF and Project ChildSafe are taking the opportunity to remind firearms owners and their families about their important responsibility in helping to prevent suicide, and to be aware of those around them who may be going through a difficult time. Learn more about suicide prevention at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website, www.afsp.org/ and about the AFSP-NSSF Suicide Prevention Program at http://www.nssf.org/safety/suicide-prevention.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-274-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
Suicide is a leading cause of death, and it’s preventable: By keeping secure firearm storage in mind, you can help reduce the number of suicides involving firearms. Learn about Safe Storage Options.
Learn the risks and warning signs of suicide: If you are worried about a friend or family member, don’t wait to reach out. View AFSP’s “Talk Saves Lives” video.
Let them know you care: It’s okay to talk directly with someone about whether they had thoughts of suicide and to encourage them to seek help, according to AFSP. Asking about suicidal thoughts and showing concern will not put someone at greater risk.
If you are concerned about a loved one: Always store firearms securely and consider temporary off-site storage for firearms with a trusted friend or relative. View the AFSP-NSSF Firearms prevention and Suicide Prevention brochure.
Project ChildSafe also provides a full library of videos, brochures and other tools on its website to help gun owners practice and promote responsible firearms ownership.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.
About Project ChildSafe
NSSF launched Project ChildSafe in 1999 (prior to 2003 the program was called Project HomeSafe) as a nationwide initiative to promote firearms responsibility and provide safety education to all gun owners, young adults and children. Through partnerships with more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies, the program has provided more than 37 million free firearm safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and the five U.S. territories to help prevent firearms accidents, theft and misuse. That's in addition to the more than 70 million free locking devices manufacturers have included with new firearms sold since 1998 and continue to do today. Project ChildSafe was also recognized as one of three finalists in the National Safety Council’s 2018 “Green Cross for Safety” Awards. Learn more at projectchildsafe.org.