Brady and American Association of Suicidology Raise Awareness of Link between access to Guns and Suicide Fatality
Washington, D.C., March 26, 2019 — Following the tragic suicides by two Parkland survivors and the father of a Sandy Hook victim, Brady and the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) joined together today to raise awareness of the ripple effect of mass shootings and the dangers of guns in the hands of those in crisis. Access to guns by those in crisis raises the risk that any ensuing suicide attempt will be fatal. Suicide attempts by gun result in death 85-95 percent of the time, compared to just 3 percent for the next most lethal method.
The two organizations emphasized the urgency of securing guns in the home from family members in crisis through safe storage or temporary removal. Acute suicide risk typically lasts for a short period of time, which makes removing or slowing access to firearms critical to saving the life of a person of crisis. Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) can also provide concerned family members or law enforcement the ability to temporarily remove a firearm from a person in crisis. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, there are resources you can use to get help.
Kyleanne Hunter, Marine Corps combat veteran and Brady VP of Programs, stated,
“Gun violence doesn’t end when the bullets stop flying. The guilt that survivors feel is painfully real – I felt it when I returned from the battlefield, and I’m heartbroken that students and parents feel it today. It doesn’t have to be this way. Guns too often turn an impulsive act into a fatal tragedy, and common-sense policies like extreme risk orders and safe storage provisions can help keep firearms away from someone in crisis. We owe it to our friends and families to protect them and hold them up when they need our help. If you need help, please, please, please reach out and know that you are loved and valued.”
Michael Anestis, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi and co-chair of AAS’s Firearms and Suicide Committee, stated,
“The survivors of the Parkland and Sandy Hook tragedies have been heroic in their advocacy efforts. We must always remember though that they are also victims of trauma, which puts them at risk for suicide. We often do not know when people are suffering and deaths like these can be a shock to us all. Moving forward we must work to make sure that effective mental health care is available and that we limit ready access to lethal means, especially firearms. Safe storage of firearms is not a threat to the rights of gun owners – it is a path to survival for those gun owners who are suffering.”
To learn more about the effect of the presence of guns in suicide attempts and deaths, please see Brady’s 2018 report, “The Truth About Suicide & Guns.” To learn more about the safe storage of guns in the home, please visit endfamilyfire.org. AAS outlines a number of additional individual and population-level means safety guidelines in this 2018 policy statement.
Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the AAS’ Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more information.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in the common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.