Precommitment Against Suicide (PAS)

People who fear suicide ought to be empowered to protect themselves. That is the core idea in my recently published article in the Boston College Law Review, Self-Defense Against Gun Suicide (pdf, no log-in required).

More specifically, my proposal is to allow individuals to confidentially put their own names into the federal background check system to prevent gun purchase during a suicidal crisis. There would be an option to change one’s mind and have one’s name removed after a delay period.

There are good reasons to think this proposal would save many lives:

● There were 21,175 firearm suicide deaths…

Today (9/10/15) is World Suicide Prevention Day. The theme this year is “Reaching Out and Saving Lives.” Human connections are indeed key to both prevention and healing. But empowering those at risk to protect themselves can fill gaps when friends and family can’t. That is the focus of the “Stop Gun Suicide” campaign I launched on this blog about a month ago: giving people the power to prevent their own impulsive gun suicides.

In the past month, I published a website, gathering information and references to support the idea. I have started a petition (click through to sign!), which has…

We should do more to help at-risk people prevent their own suicides.

Here is one way.

Jonathan Jacoves was described by his father as a “happy-go-lucky, pro tennis player.” That was before Jonathan’s mental health deteriorated. At age twenty, he attempted suicide by overdosing on nonprescription medication and was diagnosed with “major depressive disorder” “with suicidal potential and ideation.” Before being discharged from the hospital, Jonathan entered into a contract with his parents through which he agreed not to commit suicide for four months. Jonathan told a psychiatric aide about the agreement and that “he hoped he meant it, but…


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