MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin chapters of Moms Demand Action and Student Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements applauding Wisconsin Senate lawmakers for voting to advance Senate Bill 205, gun suicide prevention legislation. The bipartisan bill would allow the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to award grants to organizations or government entities for up to $5,000 to train staff at firearm dealers or shooting ranges on recognizing the signs a person may be contemplating suicide, provide resources on suicide prevention for distribution, and provide temporary storage for firearms.
“Gun suicide makes up more than half of gun deaths in Wisconsin and guns make suicide attempts significantly more lethal,” said Jenevia Blanks, a gun violence survivor and volunteer with the Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill will help create intervention measures for firearm suicide. We’re grateful to Wisconsin lawmakers for prioritizing this important legislation.”
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Firearm suicide is a preventable public health crisis. One of the most effective things we can do to help people in crisis is to temporarily restrict their access to firearms. Nearly six out of every 10 gun deaths in the U.S. are gun suicides, and having access to a firearm triples someone’s risk of death by suicide. Most people who attempt suicide do not die—unless they use a gun. Gun suicides in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2022, according to provisional data from the CDC. Nearly six out of every 10 gun deaths are suicides, and having access to a firearm triples someone’s risk of death by suicide
Wisconsin has incredibly weak gun laws. Wisconsin has no law requiring background checks on unlicensed gun sales or Extreme Risk law to allow family members or law enforcement to petition for the temporary removal of guns from dangerous situations. Additionally, the existing state laws prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing guns are dangerously incomplete. In an average year, 678 people die and 1,028 are wounded by guns in Wisconsin – and 65% of gun deaths are by firearm suicide. An average of 58 children and teens die by guns every year in the state, of which 33% of these deaths are suicides and 61% are homicides. Gun violence in Wisconsin costs $1,448 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Wisconsin $8.4 billion each year, of which $144.3 million is paid by taxpayers.
More information about gun violence in Wisconsin is available here.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call or text 988, or visit 988lifeline.org/chat to chat with a counselor from the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress anywhere in the US.