Suicide Prevention is Our Year-Round Mission
CSGV works to prevent firearm suicide every day. Here’s how.
During National Suicide Prevention Week, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) is thinking of the 20,000 Americans who die from firearm suicide each year and their families.
The link between guns and suicide is clear. Firearms are responsible for half of all suicide deaths and are the most lethal method of suicide. More people take their lives with guns than with all other methods combined, and where there are more guns, there are more suicides.
As suicide is often an impulsive act, temporarily removing guns from individuals in crisis can save lives. At CSGV, we are drafting, passing, and implementing policies that do just that. For years, we have been working on a cutting-edge tool to prevent firearm suicide: the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), also known as a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO).
Here is what you need to know about this innovative suicide prevention policy:
It is initiated by those closest to an individual.
ERPO allows family members (and/or law enforcement officials) to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis.
Using ERPO, concerned relatives can help a family member who is experiencing or approaching suicidal crisis. ERPO empowers families and allows individuals at risk of suicide to get help by removing guns during periods of crisis.
It puts distance between those in suicidal crisis and highly lethal weapons.
Access to a gun is a risk factor for suicide, largely because guns rarely provide a second chance. Approximately nine out of ten firearm suicide attempts result in death.
Temporarily removing firearms from individuals during suicidal crisis decreases the likelihood that they will die by suicide. Most individuals do not substitute another method if their preferred method is not available, and even if they do substitute, other methods are less lethal.
By allowing family members to temporarily remove the most lethal method of suicide, ERPO increases the likelihood that the individual will survive a crisis and be able to seek help.
With CSGV’s guidance, California became the first state to pass the GVRO — an ERPO-style law — in 2014. After this success, we worked to help pass ERPO in Washington state last year and in Oregon just months ago.
People in crisis and their families need to be able to seek help. Families need to be able to temporarily remove guns from a loved one who is a danger to himself or herself. And people in crisis need time and space to heal without lethal weapons in the home.
ERPO checks all the boxes. ERPO saves lives.
CSGV has been a leader in developing and advocating for policies that prevent suicide without stigmatizing those who live with mental illness. On National Suicide Prevention Week and every week, we remain committed to preventing firearm suicide and fighting for policies that do so.