Monday Oct 08, 201210:27 AM GMT
Military suicide policy trying to take private guns
Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:28AM
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With nearly half of all suicides in the U.S. military committed with a privately owned firearm, Congress and the Pentagon are moving to implement policies that will discourage at-risk members of the armed forces from retaining their personal weapons.

 

As suicides continue to rise in 2012, the Defense Department officials are developing a suicide prevention campaign, part of which will encourage friends and family of the potentially suicidal to convince the soldiers to give up their weapons.

 

The Pentagon’s move would be hugely controversial as some lobbyists may construe it as gun control. 

 

Gun rights groups - along with many service members themselves - are likely to oppose any policy which could seem to limit a citizen’s private ownership of a firearm. The Daily Mail

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Suicides in the military rose sharply from 2005 to 2009, reaching 285 active-duty service members and 24 reservists in 2009. NY Times

 

The numbers are on track to outpace the 2009 figures this year, with about 270 active-duty service members, half of them from the Army, having killed themselves as of last month. NY Times

 

According to Defense Department statistics, more than 6 of 10 military suicides are by firearms, with nearly half involving privately owned guns. In the civilian population, guns are also the most common method of suicide among young males, though at a somewhat lower rate. NY Times

 

The rising figures are of greater concern to the military staff considering the efforts from the suicide prevention campaign. The Daily Mail

 

John Ruocco, a helicopter pilot, killed himself in 2005 between deployments in Iraq. His wife, Kim, said he felt unable to seek help. The Daily Mail

 

She said: “He was so afraid of how people would view him once he went for help.” The Daily Mail

 

"He thought that people would think he was weak, that people would think he was just trying to get out of redeploying or trying to get out of service, or that he just couldn't hack it. In reality, he was sick," she said. The Daily Mail

 

"He had suffered injury in combat and he had also suffered from depression and let it go untreated for years." The Daily Mail

 

AGB/HJ

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