The Weekly Reload Podcast

The Shooting Champion Raising $100k to Prevent Gun Suicides

May 6th, 2024

This week, we're talking about a new effort to reduce gun suicides. 

That's why we have shooting champion Chris Cheng on the show. The winner of Top Shot season four is trying to raise money for mental health screenings and treatment. He is matching up to $5,000 of small-dollar donations in an effort to raise $100,000 for Walk The Talk America (WTTA).

WTTA is a grassroots effort to try and reduce suicide from within the gun-owning community. We've interviewed one of their co-founders on the show in the past. Cheng said he's a big believer in their unique approach because it understands some of the novel challenges in reaching gun owners experiencing suicidal ideation without inadvertently discouraging them from seeking help.

Cheng noted that seeking out mental health help can be intimidating for gun owners because mental health professionals have the power to take their guns away. He said WTTA tries to address this problem by educating those professionals about the concerns of gun owners. They have a training program and a list of professionals who've worked with the non-profit that gun owners can reach out to.

But it's not just about reaching mental health professionals, Cheng said. The group also works to open up conversations about suicide and mental health inside the gun-owning community. It offers help for firearms trainers, store operators, and range owners. It also gives people direct access to free mental health screenings.

Cheng said the community has come a long way in addressing the issue of suicide over the past decade, but a lot more is needed. After all, suicide has long been the largest percentage of gun deaths in America. So, Cheng said he's going to keep working to help, and this fundraiser is the next step.