A new Rasmussen survey on suicide comes as the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference prepares to take on the issue in Dallas, Sept. 30. (Dave Workman)
A new Rasmussen survey released Tuesday showing that 55 percent of American adults know someone who has committed suicide offers a timely tie-in to a topic that will be discussed at the 32nd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference later this month in Dallas.
The conference unfolds Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the Westin Dallas-Fort Worth Airport hotel. It is co-sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It will attract hundreds of gun rights activists from across the country, and there is still time to pre-register.
One of the highlights will be a presentation by Prof. Jennifer Stuber with the University of Washington’s Department of Public Health Policy and founder of ForeFront. She spearheaded a project in Washington State with assistance from SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. Stuber will be speaking during the morning session on Sept. 30, detailing how the program has progressed so far, and what lies ahead.
One startling revelation of the work so far is that about 80 percent of the firearms-related fatalities in Washington State are suicides. That’s above the national average. Suicide claims far more lives than homicide where guns are involved, yet gun control proponents persist in combining the data from both causes, calling it “gun violence.” However, gun rights advocates argue that homicide is a criminal offense while suicide is an issue of mental health.
The project is supported by gun lock and gun safe retailers.
According to Rasmussen Reports, their telephone and online survey found that 80 percent of the respondents consider suicide a “serious problem” in this country. Two years ago, Rasmussen reported that 83 percent of survey respondents “considered teen suicide specifically to be a serious problem, and 71 percent think family members are most responsible for preventing it.”
The Columbia University survey to which Rasmussen referred showed that the number of suicide attempts increased from 11 to 13 percent per 100,000 people over the full decade preceding 2014. Researchers looked at data from more than 70,000 adults from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during that ten-year period.
Since becoming involved in the suicide prevention effort more than two years ago, Gottlieb has championed the effort. He traveled to the state capitol in Olympia twice to testify in support of legislation launching the project, and co-chairs a subcommittee that deals with implementing the legislation. He has attended frequent meetings with Stuber and others to develop a program that includes gun retailers and range operators, firearms instructors, pharmacists and others.
They have already produced an education video for retailers and their employees, along with other materials aimed at suicide intervention and prevention.
According to Rasmussen, “Middle-aged adults are more likely than those under 40 and over 65 to know someone who has committed suicide.
“Black adults (42%) are the least likely to know someone who has committed suicide,” the report notes, “compared to more than half of white and other minority adults. Higher-income Americans are more likely than those who earn less to know someone who has committed suicide.”
The Gun Rights Conference seems a perfect place to discuss this effort. The audience will be packed with gun owners who will have a first opportunity hear Stuber’s report.