Robin Neipp: Campaign encourages gun safety action steps

  • Gun safety and suicide prevention brochures are seen on display next to guns for sale in Montrose, Colo. AP

Published: 10/3/2023 4:31:13 PM
Modified: 10/3/2023 4:30:12 PM

As we come to the end of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the local Western MA chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America want to remind our communities of our Be SMART campaign. Continuing to raise awareness about safe firearm storage will help to curb suicides by firearms in our state. This July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s released provisional data for suicide deaths for 2022, the national rate of suicide (all ages) increased 2.6% over 2021 rate, which is at an all time high. This data also shows that nationally the gun suicide rate for Black teens surpassed the rate among white teens for the first time.

Thankfully Massachusetts has a relatively low gun suicide rate; however, according to the America Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 50% of firearm deaths in Massachusetts were suicides and 22% of all suicides were by firearms. Further a September 2022 study, conducted by NYU and Everytown analyzed data from 752 cities with populations of 50,000-plus from 2010-2020. It found during this period, suicide by gun rose 11% and was associated with lax gun laws.

One way to prevent suicide is to ensure firearms are safely stored. A key initiative of Moms is the Be SMART campaign at Be SMART is designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions to prevent child gun deaths and injuries. The framework simply asks all parents and adults to take five action steps. 1. Secure all guns in home and vehicles, 2. Model responsible behavior around guns, 3. Ask about the presence of guns in other homes, 4. Recognize the role of guns in suicide and 5. Tell peers to Be SMART.

These five steps will not only help children stay safe, but also ensure people of all ages have reduced risk of death by firearm suicide. The bottom line is that we all have an invested interest in ensuring safety in our state and we can all agree one life lost to suicide is one too many. Moms thanks all Massachusetts responsible gun owners and invites you to join us to keep Massachusetts moving in the right direction with respect to firearm suicides.

Robin Neipp

Group lead Western MA Moms Demand Action


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