(HealthDay News) — The Biden administration unveiled a plan on Tuesday that aims to cut gun suicides in the United States.
Measures in the plan include creating awareness and training programs and making gun storage more widely available. The effort also seeks to turn back the significant rise in suicides by military personnel and veterans.
Federal agencies will create public awareness campaigns to encourage safer gun storage and will develop training measures for counselors, crisis responders, and others. Gun stores will also be required to offer secure gun storage and safety devices, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) will send gun dealers a guide that outlines required safety measures and other steps recommended by the federal government, as well as details about the Justice Department focus on prosecuting gun crimes and violations of federal gun laws.
The ATF will “seek to revoke the licenses of dealers the first time that they violate federal law,” with limited exceptions for “extraordinary circumstances,” according to the White House. Violations would include selling guns to someone who cannot legally own them, failing to run a background check, falsifying federal records, or refusing to cooperate in ATF inspections, the AP reported. Another part of the plan is to create maps to help people find locations to safely store guns outside their homes. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will expand its suicide prevention and safety planning efforts and provide training for family members of people who may be at higher risk for suicide.
Guns were the most common cause of suicide in the United States in 2019, accounting for nearly 24,000 suicide deaths, or just more than half the total number of suicide deaths for that year, federal data show. Many people who use guns to take their lives have quick access to them and tend to either be gun owners or to have family members with guns, according to experts, the AP reported.