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Military Teaches Gun Safety, Now VA Stresses Even More to Reduce Vet Suicides

Whereas the army teaches troopers about firearm security, the Division of Veteran Affairs (VA) has launched a marketing campaign to try to scale back veteran suicides by emphasizing gun security.

VA officers informed the Home Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday that its marketing campaign consists of public service bulletins (PSAs) directed at veterans. The PSAs talk about the most effective practices for storing gun storage and accessing psychological well being help, Navy Occasions reported.

One VA PSA, launched September 17, reveals a veteran’s perspective as quite a few civilians provide empty sympathy and thanks for his or her service. The advert then cuts to the veteran sitting alone in his automobile as he holds up a single bullet. He then attaches a cable lock to his gun earlier than enclosing the firearm in a field.

“Although it could appear to be a small barrier,” the advert says, “a easy lock places a barrier between the thought and the set off.”

The advert encourages viewers to go to KeepItSecure.internet, a VA internet web page that features tips about storing weapons. The web page additionally accommodates tips about how you can determine and deal with a suicidal disaster in addition to ideas for safely managing opioids and different drugs.

“We’re not gearing any marketing campaign or messaging in direction of [firearm] restriction,” Dr. Matthew Miller, govt director of VA’s Suicide Prevention Program, informed the Home committee on Wednesday. “We’re gearing our messaging and marketing campaign in direction of security, time and house between an individual, a firearm and ammunition…. A [pause] of 10 to twenty minutes will be life saving.”

military gun safety veteran affairs suicides firearms
The Division of Veteran Affairs has began a marketing campaign that can emphasize gun security and psychological well being entry as a strategy to scale back veteran firearm suicides. On this photograph illustration, an individual holds a handgun with the U.S. flag within the background.
Evgenia Parajanian/Getty

Legislators on the Home committee mentioned that VA officers ought to instruct front-line workers who work immediately with veterans on extra firearms security precautions in addition to psychological well being and assist. Miller mentioned the VA would achieve this by fall 2023.

The brand new VA marketing campaign was spurred considerably by the June 2020 launch of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and Finish a Nationwide Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS).

PREVENTS, a report on veteran suicides, mentioned that deadly means security efforts, resembling protected firearm storage, might assist scale back veteran suicides. The PREVENTS report was launched beneath former President Donald Trump.

A 2021 VA report recorded 6,261 veteran suicides in 2019. Veteran suicides accounted for 13.6 % of the 45,861 suicides reported within the U.S. that yr. Roughly 69.2 % of the veteran suicides in 2019 used firearms.

Miller additionally mentioned that the VA’s previous efforts to scale back veteran firearm suicides had been “downplayed or curbed” resulting from opposition from gun rights activists and conservative lawmakers, Navy Occasions reported. The activists and lawmakers noticed the VA’s efforts to curb gun suicides as an assault on the Second Modification proper to bear arms.

The VA undertook its new anti-suicide initiative with help from the Nationwide Capturing Sports activities Basis and the PsychArmor Institute, a bunch that trains civilians on veteran psychological well being points.

Newsweek reached out to the VA for remark.

https://www.newsweek.com/military-teaches-gun-safety-now-va-stresses-even-more-reduce-vet-suicides-1631788 | Navy Teaches Gun Security, Now VA Stresses Even Extra to Scale back Vet Suicides

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