Sen. Joni Ernst (“Raising awareness about veteran suicide,” Sept. 18) is correct to express concern about this issue. It is not isolated to veterans, however. In fact, two-thirds of all gun deaths in this country are due to suicide; there were 22,000 firearm suicides last year.
A study in which survivors of gun suicide were interviewed revealed that the majority had contemplated their attempt within 5 minutes before shooting. The common thread was ready availability of a weapon. We will always have guns, but the question is how responsibly we will deal with them in our homes, on our person or in our streets. As with most complex problems, recognition is only half the cure. The remaining 50 percent requires a willingness to problem-solve. How willing are we to prevent 22,000 suicides each year?