"How did we not know?" Gun owners confront a suicide epidemic

The concern about suicides has led to an unusual alliance between suicide-prevention advocates and gun-rights proponents; together they are devising new strategies to prevent suicide in a population committed to the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

Gun shows across the country had started giving suicide-prevention booths space at their events before the coronavirus appeared. Now, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry, carries a suicide-prevention video on the home page of its website, and invites suicide experts to give talks at online events.

Firearms retailers hand out postcards that carry suicide-prevention hotline numbers and list the telltale signs of depression, including changes in sleep habits, sudden weight loss and alcohol abuse. Posters urge customers to “Have a brave conversation” with a friend if they’re worried. The messages urge gun enthusiasts to keep their firearms locked, to store guns and bullets separately — and to offer to store firearms for a fellow gun owner who is going through a life crisis.