The Biden administration is rolling out a new initiative aimed at reducing suicides by gun and combating the significant increases in suicides by members of the military and veterans the Associated Press is reporting.
The White House announced the new plan on Tuesday, which officials called “an unprecedented focus” by the federal government on reducing the risk of suicide through awareness and training campaigns and new regulations to increase the availability of gun storage products. Officials will also expand efforts within the Department of Veterans Affairs focused on suicide prevention and safety planning, along with training for family members of people who could be at higher risk for suicide, administration officials said.
The new plan calls for federal agencies, including the Defense Department, Homeland Security, the Justice Department, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Transportation’s emergency medical services office to create public awareness campaigns to encourage safer storage of guns and training for counselors, crisis responders, and others. The effort also includes the Justice Department finalizing a rule that was first proposed in 2016 and would require stores that sell firearms to also offer secure gun storage and safety devices, the White House said. The federal government will also create maps to help people find places to safely store guns outside of their homes, officials said.
The elephant in the room has to be addressed. Guns are far and away the biggest source of suicide methods for the military and veteran communities. https://t.co/t3yGzz6cSH
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) November 2, 2021
In 2019, firearms were the most common method used in suicide deaths in the United States, accounting for nearly 24,000 deaths, or a little over half of all suicide deaths, according to federal health statistics. Experts say many people who take their lives using guns typically have quick access to firearms and have tended to be gun owners or their family members.
This #Veteran is angry that 20 Veterans die by suicide daily, 2/3 by gun violence. Thankfully @MomsDemand @vfpnational @commondefense & people like @tedlieu know that #GunLawsSaveLives and continue to #protectourvets pic.twitter.com/qTJxnk1R6a
— Heath Copeland (@heathco63) November 3, 2021
But even as the Biden administration works to prevent more gun violence, the Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding the right for civilians to openly carry a weapon in public spaces.
Happening now: Oral argument in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen, a major Second Amendment case about the right to carry guns in public. We'll be live-tweeting the argument here in this thread. You can also listen in live here: https://t.co/EVMV6k52KUhttps://t.co/V43bs2KCOU
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) November 3, 2021