National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides opportunity to educate gun-owning community on importance of securely storing firearms to help prevent access by at-risk individuals
NEWTOWN, Conn.— In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Awareness 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 of the critical role secure firearms storage plays in helping to prevent suicide.
For more than 50 years, NSSF has encouraged gun owners to safely handle and securely store firearms, and over the last few decades, it has provided valuable resources and free firearm safety kits, including cable-style gun locks through the Project ChildSafe program, to help prevent firearms accidents, thefts and misuse, including suicide.
“Given that almost two-thirds of firearms-related fatalities are suicides, the gun-owning community can play an important role in helping to prevent suicide by ensuring their guns are securely stored when not in use,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF’s President and CEO. “Having a gun securely stored puts space between the period of risk and the means to act, and sometimes that space can mean the difference between a life saved and a tragedy.”
Through a collaborative partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), announced earlier this year, NSSF has embarked on a national firearms and suicide prevention program, focused on educating the gun-owning community on warning signs, risk factors and how to keep firearms safely out of reach of those who may wish to do themselves harm.
“At the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention we have set the bold goal of reducing the suicide rate 20 percent by the year 2025. With the help of the firearms owning community, we know this goal is achievable. I’m pleased NSSF is making suicide prevention a priority for its members. NSSF’s efforts are helping us save lives in communities across the nation,” said Robert Gebbia, AFSP CEO.
NSSF and Project ChildSafe remind firearms owners and their families to try and 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. If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-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 firearms 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 OK to talk directly with someone about whether they have 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. View the AFSP-NSSF Firearms and Suicide Prevention brochure.
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. While children are a focus, Project ChildSafe is intended to help young people and adults practice greater firearm safety as well. 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. 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. Learn more at projectchildsafe.org.