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Pardon Me if I Find Gun Control Groups’ Concerns About Suicide Prevention Hollow

This article talks about how gun owners are more receptive to suicide prevention efforts that respect gun ownership. You don’t say? It’s not like this community is unaware or doesn’t care a whit that firearms are an effective tool in the hands of someone intent on ending their lives. Believe me, we know. But pardon me I call the gun control crowd’s concerns about suicide prevention a load of crap because they keep trying to pass laws that make suicide prevention a crime:

The culturally tailored message was then used as part of a nationwide survey of more than 800 gun owners to determine the likelihood of it causing owners of firearms to engage in multiple key gun safety behaviors for suicide prevention – such as asking a suicidal person to give away his or her guns temporarily to another trusted individual.

Except Bloomberg has been going state-to-state trying to make that a crime. I have a standing order with family to remove my access to firearms if I ever have that kind of mental health crisis, but in states like Washington, where Bloomberg has been successful, that is a crime if you don’t first get the person in crisis to an FFL to pay hundreds of dollars to transfer the collection to the “trusted individual,” and then pay hundreds more once the crisis ends. The Oregon legislature was smarter, and made an exception to its laws, but there is a factor of “imminence” in the exception. Generally speaking, transferring a firearm to a “trusted individual” in Oregon is a crime. In Pennsylvania, this is also the case for handguns, unless the “trusted individual” has an LTC.

So don’t give me this bleeding heart shit. If gun control people gave a crap about suicide they wouldn’t be pushing for laws that criminalized gun owners for helping out friends.

21 Responses to “Pardon Me if I Find Gun Control Groups’ Concerns About Suicide Prevention Hollow”

  1. Whetherman says:

    These are excellent points, because I’ve always maintained that the most effective “gun control” is practiced quietly by families and social circles, not by governments.

    Within our extended family we have a member who has been kept together by heavy-duty meds ever since he was a teenager. He has had more than one episode of being “homicidal and suicidal.” In our gun-heavy family, his father always emphasized, “no one give him access to any tools.” Fortunately he is aware of his own problems, and in over 50 years has never sought to borrow anyone’s gun, either openly or covertly.

    Considering how ubiquitous guns are in American society, it is obvious that works most of the time.

    Just as with violent crime, suicide is something that can’t be prevented when someone is hell-bent on following through with it. And to be just a little bit callous, in cases of spur-of-the-moment suicides, I’d prefer someone shoot themselves in the head, rather than crash their car head-on at high speed into me and my family on the highway. (I don’t know if there is an estimate of a statistic, but it has been suggested that many unexplained fatal automobile accidents are actually suicides; and I would suggest that even many now attributed to cell phones or texting could actually be that. I’m thinking the present “opioid epidemic” may reflect a suicidal turn in our mass psychology, and I recall that methods of suicide have been known to go in and out of style over the years.)

    • Francis King says:

      @Whetherman:

      “Just as with violent crime, suicide is something that can’t be prevented when someone is hell-bent on following through with it.”

      I disagree, we can prevent suicides.

      In the UK, there is an organisation known as The Samaritans. It is a telephone service, which is free to call. They guarantee to stay on the line for as long as it takes. There are US branches.

      They always need money and volunteers. If there is a branch or an equivalent in your part of the USA, you could volunteer or donate. If there isn’t a branch or an equivalent, you could always start one.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans_(charity)

      • Whetherman says:

        “I disagree, we can prevent suicides.”

        Thanks. You made me realize I was being insensitive to those who may have experinced suicide by someone close to them.

        To try to talk my way out of it while apologizing, I think my keywords were “hell bent.” Most people could likely be diverted from a life of crime, if there was early enough intervention, in the same way potential suicides could be averted. But if things add up that someone has committed themselves either to crime or suicide, and they are “hell bent”, they are probably not likely to pick up a phone and ask for help to stop.

        FWIW I still harbor pangs of guilt over someone who committed suicide nearly 50 years ago, who we all ignored despite very clear cries for help.

        God bless the Samaritans for every life they save.

  2. I never thought of that angle of background checks. You are absolutely correct as to the “unintended consequence” of those laws.

    • Miles says:

      Some may think that’s a “bug” but maybe it’s just as well to think of it as a “feature”.
      Stupidity should not be attributed to these anti-gun/anti-civil rights wanna-be Nannytyrants.

      I always consider that the ulterior motive for everything they do is “How can we more easily control the riff-raff?”

      Making it easier to process people through the criminal justice system and turn them into “Prohibited Persons” has been opined as just another club in their bag of tricks.

      • Whetherman says:

        “How can we more easily control the riff-raff?”

        The problem is compounded by, the perception of what is “riff-raff” correlates strongly with ideology.

  3. AnOregonian says:

    You give FAR to much credit to the Oregon legislature.
    1.) WA’s law also includes the imminence language. (I believe it was a part of Schumer’s original bill, which is why it’s included in the copy&paste state versions)
    and
    2.) imminence, in legalese doesn’t mean what we commonly think it means. It’s my understanding that it means RIGHT THIS very moment. Not today, not an hour from now, nor even 10min from now, it means right now.

    • Sebastian says:

      Yes…. basically if they are putting the gun in their mouth, you can take it from them. But not because they’re getting depressed and talking about killing themselves.

    • TS says:

      Washington’ exemption for self-defense transfers also used “imminent” language. It’s a felony to loan a gun to a friend whose psycho ex has been threatening her, but if you slide her a gun while she’s being strangled, you are in the clear. Well… provided she gives the gun back immediately after the imminent threat has subsided.

      They included “common sense” exemptions to the crime, after all.

  4. Whetherman says:

    You know I’m big on analogies, but forgive me:

    When I was first contemplating starting my own business, more than 35 years ago, I was being confounded by the Rules and Regulations, and in a bull session with some coworkers, wondered aloud, “How do these immigrants start businesses the way they do? They can barely speak English! How do they understand all the regulations?” An older co-worker said “They don’t even try to understand the regulations. They Just Do It, and maybe worry about regulations later.”

    Which is what I then did, and made out pretty well.

    My point of course is, when it comes to guns do what you need to do; and at most think “better tried by twelve than carried by six.”

    I’d suggest that even in the worst states for gun regulations, that’s what most people do, though probably out of ignorance of the law. If it appears expedient to “transfer” possession of guns from Person “A” to Person “B” they do what seems like common sense and usually do OK in spite of the rules.

    I don’t think I have ever seen an interest group so fixated on knowing the fine details of regulation, and obeying those regulations so strictly, as gun rights activists. Perhaps they acquire the authoritarian love for rules-and-sticking-to-them, and the habit of seeing that as a virtue, from their “conservative” fellow travelers. Whatever, it is sometimes astonishing.

    • Jeff says:

      It’s probably from seeing people regularly nailed to the wall for violating these laws in more anti-gun jurisdictions. See Brian Aitken for one of many examples.

      • Whetherman says:

        Yes, being “aware” for any reason can lead to paranoia — I guess what I’m arguing for is a combination of conscious resistance to nonsense, with a form of “civil disobedience,” with that tempered by common sense. I.e., neither go looking to get locked up (unless that’s part of a greater strategy) nor overestimate the odds of getting caught violating the law.

        E.g., I was almost 45 before I obtained a carry permit, but I always was prepared to defend myself adequately in whatever environment I was in, from the time I was 18.

    • The_Jack says:

      There’s also the fear that if they don’t obey every rule they’ll be classified a prohibited person.

      Not to mention that to lobby against a rule, some people like to know what it actually is.

      I mean one could think you’re making a virtue out of ignorance. Or at least portraying too much knowledge as suspicious. How…. conservative.

  5. Whetherman says:

    “Not to mention that to lobby against a rule, some people like to know what it actually is.”

    Yes, but the average gun owner or even “advocate” is not a lobbyist, and at most will be asked to vote based on what someone tells them a law means. And too often what a law says is not what it is going to mean in the real world. So with that, I’m coming around again to my point that some degree of street-smarts are in order. Odds are what can happen and what will happen are often — maybe usually? not the same thing. Of course anyone with street smarts also knows that you can be wrong about those odds, and sometimes as you point out what may be at risk are your lifelong rights.

    I’m not arguing for ignorance — I’m arguing for not mistaking “potential” for “reality”, to such an extent it scares you into inaction or self-enforced slavery.

    Here’s a relatively petty example: Years ago our county attempted to have a “personal property” tax. It failed utterly because, for a variety of reasons, no one cooperated with it. Knowing about it fairly thoroughly, I filed, but only because I owned nothing taxable and the thought of non-filing scared me a little. But most people just got the form in the mail, said “WTF is this?“, and threw it in the trash. It was the people who threw it into the trash who were responsible for ending it, not the people like me who opposed it from a position of “understanding” and “principle.”

  6. dwb says:

    Bloomberg only cares about half of suicide (the other half of suicides are drugs or hanging)?

    Or, put another way: men tend to choose guns, women drugs or ropes. So is Bloomberg just sexist? I do not see a lot of concern for the women overdosing themselves.

    It does not seem like we are going to dent the suicide rate. It’s been pretty steady in the US since records were kept. It’s the same as Canada, UK, and Australia. Suicides were 66% by firearm in 1990, have decline to about half – offset by the rise in drugs and hanging. Or there is also the uniquely urban subway method. In London, they will even announce “The train is delayed because there is a person under the train.”

  7. ravenshrike says:

    If you actually wanted to save lives all cars on public roads would have 35mph limiters on their engines. That would eliminate the vast majority of road deaths.

    • Will says:

      It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any of the crash data, but I’m pretty sure most deaths, and injuries, are crashes below 35 mph. You’d be surprised at how hard a crash can be without triggering airbags. (this can vary quite a bit by vehicle, not just circumstances)(hell, you can roll a vehicle at a speed humans can run at)

    • dwb says:

      Latest crash data shows over 30% involve at least one driver under the influence. Maybe ban drunk driving?

      I am now inundated with nanny warnings on the phone and on the dash about not looking at the map or app while driving. The inherent limitation of the car is not the speed, it’s the person: either they go through the red light, drive while drunk (or high), or drive while sleepy and fall asleep. The driver in the most serious accident I was in fell asleep, cross the center line, and hit 3 cars.

      The problem with nanny state progressive-ism is that it does not stop because the problem is the people and not the tools.

      “Freedom” however means the freedom to let people make choices. You have to be willing to take the good with bad. Otherwise people are not really free.

  8. An effective way to discourage gun suicides is to inform gun owners that even headshot suicides are only lethal 90% of the time (people flinch, or do not correctly identify the lethal zones). Survivors will regret their failure. I knew someone who specialized in dental work for the survivors. One failed with a shotgun and no longer had a lower jaw.

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