Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shooting Range Suicide

Tampa, Florida was the site of this terrible incident. The reporter must have been either lazy or late for the deadline. Usually in these stories they list some of the other recent gun-range suicides that have happened in their area. It's not as rare as the pro-gun crowd would have you think.

What's your opinion? Is it right for depressed and suicidal people to have such easy access to guns? Wouldn't it be better if there were some attempt to screen them out and get them help. Isn't this a good place for the friends, relatives and shooting buddies to step in and help? I'm sure no one over at The Truth About Guns knows anyone like this, but sadly, they're out there.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. I went to a gun range on the same day in florida and thanks to your blog, I am now more aware of the amount of suicides at gun ranges. While at the range there were four other people at the range. A father and son shooting a very small caliber hand gun and two 18-24 year olds firing a .357.
    Cars, alcohol,and guns. They all require responsibility and prudence when handling. It is impossible to stop a person from harming them if they want to hurt themselves. While a gun makes it easier for some people, so does jumping off the Golden State Bridge. Living in Italy, what is the suicide rate in Italy? Compared to other countries with similiar populations and economy, how does Italy compare. Compared to USA, I am sure there are fewer gun suicides but u can't campare the two countries. U need to see how italy compares to other OECD or EU countries. An interesting study I suggested before is to look at Sweden, Finland, and other nordic countries with a long winter like Alaska. What is the suicide rate in Alaska? In norway for example there is more control on alcohol. Which as you know is a depresent. Would be nice to see your blog begin to present some research on these issues.
    Just saying.........

  2. Well, per this Jadegold provided link on gun deaths per country, the suicide rate in the US is identical to the rest of these countries.

  3. I don't think the commentators at TTAG said that they don't know any gun owners suffering from depression. I think they said that they don't know any gun loons. You know: the reckless, immature, inherently dangerous 10 percent that MikeB reckons is out there, somewhere. Armed.

    Two things to keep in mind. First, commentators represent a fraction of the people who read any site. So your assessment that all of our readers don't know any dangerous gun owners is a dangerous over-simplification.

    Second, TTAG has repeatedly mentioned the issue of mental health vis a vis responsible gun ownership. I have written that security measures should reflect the number, age and general demeanor of its occupants, both permanent and transitory.

    I've also written that there are times it's best to remove guns entirely from a house, espeically one where someone's suffering from mental illness or drug addiction, for everyone's safety.

    This you cannot legislate. Or should not, as doing so would be invasive and abrogate Second Amendment rights.

    As for gun range suicides, how exactly would you screen from mental illness? Do you suggest a link from the gun range to mental health records? While that might work, common sense suggests that the more you ostracize people with mental health issues, the more likely they are to avoid treatment.

    Not every problem involving gun ownership can be solved. Some must be tolerated, despite the tragedy, misery and suffering that accompanies these issues. It's the price we pay as a society for the right to armed self-defense.

  4. RF trots out many of the same, tired arguments. He claims that not all gun violence can be solved--so why bother trying at all?

    The mental illness/gunloon issue happens to be a problem that is easily solved and would go a long way to reducing tragedy.

    Having experienced some of RF's gunloon commenters firsthand, I can assert they are the same as the ones at every other gunloon blog. These commenters will claim everyone they know is the most law-abiding, mentally stable, sober and, BTW, expert in all matters to do with firearms.

  5. Those are good points, Robert. You're right that the commenters are only a fraction of the readers, but don't you think they're representative? Jadegold describes them perfectly.

    "These commenters will claim everyone they know is the most law-abiding, mentally stable, sober and, BTW, expert in all matters to do with firearms."

    I must admit I've read some of your unorthodox, for a pro-gun writer, ideas about gun safety and security. But I think it has to go much further. You say you cannot or should not legislate certain things. I disagree. There should be many more requirements for gun ownership. The kind of training you do because you love it should be mandated. In addition there should be much stricter screening for mental illness and violence. The first sign of excess drinking or prescription drug abuse should be a disqualifier, in fact the line for disqualification should be lowered generally.

  6. Mikeb: Call me an absolutist, but he Second Amendment contains no caveats to the right to bear arms. Nor is there any mention of conditions in any of the founding fathers' writing on the subject. And I'm sure that there were just as many "gunloons" then as there are now. More, in fact. (citation: the most excellent book Wisconsin Death Trip.) They weren't stupid. Nor are all gun owners who oppose stringent conditions on gun ownership. The understand that mental defectives, criminals and stupid people will get access to firearms (as they do). But they view the cure as worse than the disease. Do you understand how they've come to that view? Do you discount it totally?

  7. Robert, If you're an "absolutist" then I'm a "disregardist."

    I place no value at all in the wording of the 2nd Amendment which in my opinion has no meaning whatsoever in our modern world.

    No Constitutional (or Biblical, for that matter) justification is necessary. You like guns and believe you're better off with them, that's enough. If everyone were like you I'd have no problem with it. But that's not the case, so we need to protect ourselves from the unfit ones.

    I completely understand the "cure is worse than the disease" idea, I just don't agree with it.