Suicides are the leading cause of gun deaths in Missouri, which has the 11th highest suicide-by-firearm rate in the nation
Washington, D.C., September 9, 2022 – This National Suicide Prevention Month, the gun violence prevention community is focusing attention on the epidemic of firearm suicide in Missouri, which is the leading cause of firearm deaths in the state.
The inaugural Firearm Suicide Prevention Day, established by Brady and End Family Fire, is being observed this year on Tuesday, September 13. The day was created to promote the importance of storing firearms safely — guns should be locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition — which is an essential component of suicide prevention. Firearm suicide is a leading kind of “family fire,” which is a shooting in the home involving an improperly stored or misused gun that results in death or injury.
In April, Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) launched End Family Fire Missouri, an innovative, two-year public health campaign in partnership with the Ad Council and Brady to address Missouri’s firearm suicide crisis. The initiative includes Missouri-specific public service announcements, which have aired on TV and radio stations across the state, as well as social media campaigns and a dedicated website: www.endfamilyfire.org/mo.
“Suicides are the leading cause of gun deaths in Missouri, with firearms involved in more than six out of 10 suicides in the state,” said MFH Senior Strategist - Initiatives Jessi LaRose. “These numbers underscore the urgent need for safer firearm storage in homes all across Missouri. It’s a leading solution to preventing firearm suicide and saving lives.”
Nationwide, approximately 65 people die from gun suicide every day. In Missouri, the 2020 firearm suicide rate was 1.5 times higher than the national rate. Missouri also has the 11th highest suicide by firearm rate and the 16th highest suicide rate in the nation.
Access to a firearm in the household increases the risk of death by suicide by 300%, and loaded and unlocked guns account for 75% of youth firearm suicides in which the gun storage method was identified. When we store our guns safely, we save lives.
“In the U.S., every year, more than 600 children under age 17 and an additional 1,100 young adults under 21 die from gun suicide, most of which could have been prevented if the gun in the home was stored more safely,” said Brady Director of End Family Fire Colleen Creighton. “Putting time and space between someone in crisis and access to a firearm can help save their life.”
Missouri Foundation for Health and Brady through its End Family Fire Campaign are observing Firearm Suicide Prevention Day to raise awareness and provide resources to Missourians about firearm suicide.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call or text the free and confidential Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Resources for Communicating About Gun Suicide
As one of the nation’s leading gun-violence-prevention groups, Brady has extensive resources available on the topic of gun suicide:
- EndFamilyFire Missouri
- Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide, Joint Project by Leading Experts
- The Truth About Suicide and Guns, Brady Report 2021
- Firearm Suicide Risk Among Veterans and Military Service Members, Brady Online Resources
- Preventing Gun Suicides Among Youth, Team ENOUGH
- Brady Podcasts:
About End Family Fire
The nonpartisan End Family Fire program encourages safe gun storage by putting a name to the preventable tragedies that occur when guns in the home are misused. “Family fire” refers to a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home that results in death or injury. Incidents of family fire include suicides, unintentional shootings, and other gun-related tragedies. The program aims to bring awareness to the issue of family fire, give gun owners a role in gun violence prevention, and encourage a national dialogue around safe storage practices—all of which can help prevent tragedies of family fire. End Family Fire’s nationally syndicated PSAs remind gun owners to store their firearms locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. The program also drive audiences to EndFamilyFire.org for tips to make their homes safer and resources for those seeking more information about the issue of gun suicide.
About Missouri Foundation for Health
Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.