NSSF/AFSP Partnership

Why this program?

By working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, NSSF is systematically disseminating suicide prevention education materials to thousands of firearms retailers, shooting ranges and gun owners nationwide. This education focuses on risk factors and warning signs, and actions that can be taken to help prevent suicide: making sure firearms are securely stored when not in use, temporary removal of firearms from the home during periods of risk and denying the sale or rental of a firearm when appropriate.

Why collaborate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention?

Recognizing that nearly two-thirds of all firearms deaths are suicides and that half of all suicides in the U.S. are by firearm, NSSF and its Retailer and Range Advisory Councils chose to respond to this problem by partnering with experts in the field of suicidology.

Around the same time, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was launching its Project 2025 initiative. This project aims to reduce the annual suicide rate in the United States 20 percent by the year 2025. AFSP realized that to reach its goal it needed a partner to help reach firearms owners with suicide prevention education on risk factors and warning signs, resources to provide help and reminders to prevent access to firearms by at-risk persons.

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The timing for this partnership could not have been better. Importantly to NSSF, its members and our industry, AFSP is not involved in gun-control politics and is focused on saving lives.

AFSP is the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization. AFSP funds research and creates educational programs, has chapters in every state and is known for its Out of the Darkness Walks, which raise awareness about suicide in communities across the country.

Where do I go for more information?

See the press release about the partnership. Or you can contact Bill Brassard, NSSF Senior Director, Communications, for more information at [email protected].

If someone wants to end their life by firearm, won’t they find another way to do it if they do not have access to a gun?

According to AFSP, there is very strong evidence that when those who are suicidal do not have access to a chosen method for suicide, most do not typically shift to a different method. In most cases, they will not go on to make an attempt or end their life.

By separating a suicidal person from their firearm through safe storage or even temporary removal of the firearm from the home, you increase their chances for survival. If they do attempt, they may be more likely to choose a less lethal method if their firearm is not readily available. One of the important factors is giving a suicidal person time—time for the person to move out of the crisis moment and regain their usual healthier ways of coping; to receive help; for the attempt to be interrupted; or for the person to change their mind.

The ability to buy time is a life-saving measure when it comes to suicide.