US addresses military suicides with gun safety
March 21, 2023

Military Suicides Reach Record High in 2021: Calls for Gun Safety Measures Intensify. The U.S. military has experienced a surge in suicides among active-duty service members, reaching a record high in 2021.

According to a report by the Department of Defense, there were 580 confirmed suicides among active-duty troops in 2021, up from 511 in 2020. This marks the highest number of suicides in the military since record-keeping began in 2001.

The rise in suicides has sparked renewed calls for gun safety measures to be implemented in the military, where access to firearms is ample.

In response to the rising suicide rates, military leaders have emphasized the need for increased mental health resources and support. However, many experts argue that addressing the issue of gun safety is also crucial in preventing military suicides. Research has shown that access to firearms is a major risk factor for suicide, particularly among men, who make up the majority of the military.

Advocacy groups have called for stricter gun control measures in the military, including measures to limit access to firearms for service members who are at risk of suicide. One proposed solution is to implement “red flag” laws, which would allow family members or other concerned individuals to petition for the temporary removal of firearms from a service member who may be at risk of harming themselves or others.

However, there is also opposition to such measures, with some arguing that they infringe on the Second Amendment rights of service members. Critics have also pointed out that military culture can make it difficult for service members to seek help for mental health issues. Furthermore, the threat of having their firearms taken from them for asking for help could create even more reluctancy in asking for help.

The issue of military suicides and gun safety is complex and multifaceted, and there is no easy solution. However, it is clear that the rising suicide rates among service members demand urgent action. As military leaders and policymakers work to address this crisis, it will be important to prioritize both increased mental health support and gun safety measures.

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