Gun group partners with suicide prevention effort

The trade association for the gun industry teamed with the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization to embark on a new plan to help gun dealers and ranges prevent suicides.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will provide educational materials for the gun-owning community about suicide prevention.

Robert Gebbia, AFSP chief executive officer, said partnership with the NSSF was critical for suicide prevention. “One of the first areas identified through Project 2025 was a need to involve the gun-owning community in suicide prevention,” he said in a statement.

“We know that this public education has the potential to save thousands of lives,” Gebbia added.

Nearly half of all suicides were by firearm in 2014 and 90 percent of suicide attempts by firearm are fatal, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control. Suicides also account for roughly two-thirds of total gun deaths that year.

In addition to leading gun safety efforts, the gun industry is now in the forefront in suicide prevention, said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO.

The two organizations are collaborating on this initiative through AFSP’s firearm and suicide prevention pilot program, which involves six AFSP chapters, located in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and New Mexico. The goal is to take the program nationwide within two years.