The Lesser Known Side of Gun Violence

JUNE IS NATIONAL GUN VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH. Every day, more than 300 people are directly impacted by gun violence in the United States. Gun Violence Awareness Month was created to draw attention to this tragic reality and demand life-saving change. The St. Louis Archdiocese honors this month with a weekly series of bulletin articles.

From the St. Louis Archdiocesan Task Force On Gun Violence Prevention:

Most people are surprised to learn that nearly 60% of all adult gun deaths are suicide by gun.  Today, the rate of firearm suicides is at an all-time high in the US: 12 times the gun suicide rate in other high-income countries. 

The dynamics of suicide are complex, but research indicates that a combination of several risk factors is often present in the lead-up to suicide:  current life stressors, historical risk factors, and access to lethal means of harm such as firearms.  Nearly 90% of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal, compared to 5% of all other suicide attempts. 

As we hear in today’s Psalm, the Lord heard their distress and hushed the storm. As God is present to us, may we be present to the suffering of others who may be at risk for self-harm to reduce firearm suicide. Using gun locks or securing firearms in a gun safe can reduce the risk of suicide by gun in an emotional, impulsive response to a stressful situation. Also, removing guns from the home when we are concerned an adult or child in the household may be at risk for self-harm to reduce firearm suicide is one of the easiest and quickest ways to intervene.

If you are concerned that someone you know – or you yourself – may be considering suicide, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7 support by trained counselors.

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