World Suicide Prevention Day

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 over 50 signatures so far. The idea was endorsed as “Libertarian Gun Control” by Yale law professor Ian Ayres at forbes.com. Some highlights:

“About 20,000 people kill themselves with handguns every year. Some of these people might, during moments of clarity, opt out of the ability to buy guns. There is every chance that Vars’s registry could save hundreds of lives each year — without causing a huge new bureaucracy, but merely by supplementing the national list that already exists.

“. . . The right to bear arms must certainly embrace the option not to bear them. And extending this right by giving citizens the right to pre-commit not to purchase firearms should be seen as enhancing our liberty. Vars’s proposal is one that every card-carrying libertarian should endorse. It’s the kind of voluntary gun control that even the NRA can support — especially as it comes with self-chosen methods for subsequently removing yourself from the list.”

OutdoorLife Magazine did not disagree in a blog post excerpting Ayres’s endorsement at length. Indeed, the website added this subtitle: “Law professor’s website addresses suicide by gun without imperiling rights.” Offering people another way to protect themselves could save lives without forcing anyone to give up their guns.