Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence Director of Research Translation Vicka Chaplin Issued the Following Statement:

“As a military spouse, I recognize that firearms are essential to military culture but their lethal role in suicide among veterans, military service members, and their families should not be brushed aside in this discussion.

“Today, America will reflect on the sacrifice and bravery of those who have served and protected this nation. Veterans deserve an America that recognizes and respects their sacrifices and does everything in its power to repay them. Unfortunately, as it pertains to suicide — and particularly gun suicide — we are not yet living up to that standard.

“Every year, more than 6,000 veterans die by suicide in America, of which more than two-thirds are firearm suicides. In 2018, a current military service member died by firearm suicide nearly every day, and their family members are at risk for firearm suicide, too. Firearm access is a key risk factor for suicides among these populations.”

A new report by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence highlights the epidemic of veteran and military service member suicide by firearm and recommends the solutions needed to reduce these deaths.

“The report “Prevent Firearm Suicide: Service Members and Veterans” advocates for a comprehensive, evidence-based suicide prevention strategy that includes policies and programs about reducing access to lethal means, such as guns. Using the social ecological model to explore interventions at four levels for firearm suicide prevention — individual, relationship, community, and societal — helps build a comprehensive and effective prevention strategy.

“As the nation honors our veterans on this solemn holiday, the epidemic of veteran suicide must not be ignored. It is an issue that deserves the attention of every lawmaker, advocate, and citizen. Policies and programs pertaining to reducing access to lethal means, especially firearms, must be part of any comprehensive suicide prevention strategy. Our veterans deserve that and so much more.”


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