‘How Did We Not Know?’ Gun Owners Confront a Suicide Epidemic

Years earlier, when Mr. Demicco was simply an worker on the retailer, he had reluctantly offered a gun to a girl who radiated unhappiness. However the retailer proprietor’s spouse knew her and vouched for her. “Would you imagine,” Mr. Demicco mentioned, “the subsequent morning, that very same girl, to whom I offered a gun, took her 7-year-old daughter, drove to a distant location, and killed her daughter and herself.”

Within the years that adopted, Mr. Demicco mentioned, he took motion that he believed prevented suicides on dozens of events. In a single case, he mentioned, a well-dressed girl got here in, walked straight to the counter, pointed to a handgun and mentioned she needed to purchase it, with out ever making eye contact with him.

“I mentioned to her, ‘Do you have to be shopping for a gun?’” Mr. Demicco recalled. The girl began crying, he mentioned, and confided that she had simply been discharged from the hospital. He inspired her to go dwelling, and referred to as her physician on her behalf.

The discussions that introduced public well being specialists and gun house owners collectively in New Hampshire gave rise to the Gun Shop Project, a coalition of public health and mental health practitioners, firearm retailers and gun rights advocates, beneath the aegis of the New Hampshire Firearm Security Coalition.

The venture created suicide-prevention posters and fliers to distribute in gun shops that might be reproduced free of charge, on one situation, Mr. Demicco mentioned: “You persist with the spirit and intent of our supplies, which isn’t anti-gun however anti-suicide.”

The poster reads, “Involved a couple of member of the family or buddy? Maintain on to their weapons.” It lists warning indicators that an individual is likely to be suicidal, resembling melancholy, anger, reckless conduct, a current breakup or different setback, substance abuse and speak of “being higher off lifeless.”

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