About two-thirds of gun deaths each year are suicides. It's an incredible challenge facing the gun-owning community. It's also one they've begun organizing to address.
One person leading that effort is Michael Sodini of Walk The Talk America. He joins the show this week to discuss how the industry and gun owners alike have partnered with mental health professionals to try and reduce the number of gun suicides each year.
Sodini said explained the way the program came about and how it fills an important gap. When he first attempted to use the resources of his gun distribution company to fund a mental health intervention program for gun owners, he found there was nothing in place. So, he helped form Walk The Talk America to develop a program by gun owners and for gun owners.
He said destigmatizing seeking mental health resources is an important way to help gun owners struggling with suicidal ideation. One key part of doing that is ensuring people that they can reach out for help without having to worry about losing their firearms. Often that's one key reason gun owners are hesitant.
That's why Walk The Talk America works directly with mental health professionals to help them better understand how to reach out to gun owners without alienating them. They have also started a network of approved providers who have experience working with gun owners. They've begun connecting those in crisis with those trained and able to help.
Sodini said the issue is one that the community needs to take seriously and do more to address. He lost a friend to gun suicide and knows exactly how devastating it can be. I, unfortunately, can say the same.
The more gun owners can do to look out for each other, the fewer we will lose to suicide. That's the key takeaway, according to Sodini.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogelman and I discuss how a new California gun law is dashing the dreams of a young female Olympic hopeful. And we talk a bit about my girlfriend's search for a concealed carry gun and Jake's own carry gun update.