Help Prevent Gun Suicide
Cheryl Hanna bought a handgun and used it to kill herself the next day. Aged 48, she left behind a husband, two children, and a successful career as a law professor. Hanna had been privately battling severe depression. She had twice voluntarily admitted herself to a hospital for psychiatric treatment, precisely because she knew she was at risk for suicide.
Creative use of an existing system could have made it possible for Cheryl to protect herself from gun suicide even after she was released from the hospital. Before you can buy a gun, the dealer must check to see if your name is on a national list of people prohibited from buying a gun (for example, convicted felons). This process usually takes just minutes and in most states, if you pass, you can immediately walk out with a gun. My proposal is to allow individuals to put their own names on the “no-guns list” and thereby prevent their own future gun purchases.
The voluntary and confidential sign-up process would include identity verification to avoid fraud and forgery. There would also be an option to change your mind and have your name removed from the list.
This proposal could save many lives. Over 20,000 people commit suicide each year with a gun, hundreds do so within days of purchasing the gun. Most suicide attempts are impulsive and most who survive change their minds. Those who attempt suicide with a gun almost never get that chance. Cheryl’s husband strongly believes she would have signed up for the “no-guns list” if she had had the opportunity.
Please join me in urging Congress to enact this proposal and to give more people like Cheryl a second chance at life.
STOP GUN SUICIDE
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