Our country is in the middle of a gun suicide crisis, one that is particularly acute among our veterans. The veteran suicide rate is more than twice as high as the non-veteran adult suicide rate.
Today more than 6,000 American veterans die by suicide each year, and nearly 70% of these deaths involve firearms. From 2005 to 2017, the veteran suicide rate increased by nearly 41%. We must do more to protect the veterans who risked their lives to protect us.
Research suggests that having a gun in the home triples a person’s overall risk of suicide, and nearly half of all veterans own firearms. Because 85% of gun suicide attempts end in death, when individuals in crisis reach for a gun, they rarely survive.
Gun safety laws like extreme risk laws allow families, household members, or law enforcement officers to proactively save a loved one’s life by petitioning a court for an order temporarily restricting a person’s access to guns if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others. So far, 17 states plus Washington DC have passed extreme risk laws.
By limiting access to guns among those at a proven risk of suicide, we can save thousands of American lives every year. We owe it to our veterans to ensure every state has this law.