A new measure aimed at suicide prevention and intervention will be discussed during a hearing before the Washington State House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 26, and leading gun rights organizations will be involved in the process.
House Bill 2793 is sponsored by State Rep. Tina Orwall (D-33rd District). If passed, it will create a pair of Suicide Prevention subcommittees, including one that requires representatives from the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, plus two members from the firearms industry.
Alan Gottlieb, SAF executive vice president and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, has been quietly involved in the effort for about a year.
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“The consequences of suicide are devastating to families and the figures are alarming,” Orwall said in a press release. “But it is the nation’s most preventable form of death, and we all have a role in averting it by forming partnerships and working together to raise awareness and limit access to lethal means.”
“To raise awareness about suicide and lethal means,” she added, “this bill builds a partnership with the University of Washington, NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Pharmacy Association, so we can work together on getting the message across to gun stores and pharmacies in a way that really connects with the people who use those services.”
“We all want to see the extremely high suicide rate in Washington come down,” Gottlieb said. “Working together in a coalition of gun rights advocates, suicide prevention experts and the firearms dealers will have a measurable impact.”
Gottlieb, who has been attending the 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas this week, said this is not about gun control, but preventing suicide.
The bill requires the state Department of Health to develop a “safe homes partner” certification for gun dealers, while offering a B&O tax credit for retailers certified as “safe home partners.” If the legislation passes, it will make the firearms community full partners in the effort to reduce suicides in Washington.
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