Gun industry, prevention group new allies against suicide

LAS VEGAS (AP) — It’s a difficult topic to discuss, fraught with politics and social stigma, and an even tougher one to fix: people who kill themselves with a gun. But now two unlikely allies — the gun industry and a leading suicide prevention group — are coming together to tackle it.

The gun industry was wary of encouraging a gun-control agenda and suicide prevention advocates were uncertain about diving into such a prickly topic.

The National Sports Shooting Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention agree on the goal of preventing suicides.

“We’re interested in not taking guns away, but in limiting access by those who have serious mental health problems and are at risk,” said Robert Gebbia, CEO of the suicide prevention group.

It’s all about practicing safe storage, he said.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 44,000 Americans dying each year — half of them using a firearm. For those who use a gun, it is fatal 90 percent of the time. The goal is to reduce the number of suicides by 10,000 in the next decade.