By Joyce Koch

We have a health crisis, and we are not doing enough to solve it. Nearly 22,000 people in the U.S. die each year from suicide by firearm, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mass shootings and homicides are far more prevalent in the news than suicide, but two-thirds of all gun-deaths are self-inflicted. That’s two out of three. This crisis has escalated in the past 10 years with gun-related suicides rising by 19 percent since 2008.

If a virus caused these many deaths, we would have developed a vaccine by now. If a pollutant were killing people at this rate, we would all be clamoring for a solution. We need to do something.

Only 5 percent of people who attempt suicide with non-gun related methods succeed. Of those who survive, the vast majority don’t die, at a later time, by suicide, indicating a significant survival advantage if access to the most lethal method isn’t so easy for the person at risk of suicide.

Yet, one-half of all suicides involve guns since 85 percent of firearm suicide attempts result in death. Other methods are not nearly as lethal. Sadder still is the fact that the firearm suicide rate among children and teens has increased by 61 percent in the past decade. These statistics are truly tragic.

We need to work together to advocate safe storage laws and vote for Kentucky candidates who support sensible gun policies that keep firearms away from those who may pose a danger to themselves as well as to others. This is our best hope for curbing these senseless deaths.

Joyce Koch is a volunteer at KY Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Insider Louisville is on a mission to give a voice to our readers who want to weigh in on the critical issues of the day. Insider Voices is a regular Sunday feature for those who want to keep the conversation going when it comes to our five cornerstone coverage areas: culture, economy, education, government and health.


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