You know how the prohibitionists are always talking about “30,000 plus deaths by gun violence” every year, which they try to lay at the door of law-abiding armed citizens?

Most of the general public doesn’t seem to realize that 60% to two-thirds of that number are suicides.

For many years, I have belonged to the New Hampshire Firearms Safety Coalition, founded by Elaine Frank who then led the Injury Prevention Center in Hanover, NH.  NHFSC became the first entity to ever bring together the warring factions in what today may be the most polarized and controversial issue in the US, “gun control.”  She brought them together in common cause for preventing untimely deaths, both by accident and by suicide.  And, by God, she succeeded.

In 2009, the Coalition took a strong turn toward the suicide prevention side of the picture, led by Ralph Demicco, then the owner of Riley’s Sport Shop.  Riley’s, founded long ago by the late Dick Riley who eventually became president of the NRA, is one of the most famous gun shops in America and certainly the most iconic in New Hampshire, just as Kittery Trading Post is the gun shop in Maine.  Ralph learned that in a short span of time, three eligible people passed all the legal requirements to buy a gun from his shop…and killed themselves with those guns a short time thereafter.

Ralph set in motion with NHFSC the Gun Shop Project, which trained store personnel in the subtleties of recognizing potentially suicidal people. It has been widely copied around the country.  The next step was to bring in firearms instructors, to spread the same message to their students.

None of us wants to be the person who lent a gun to a friend or neighbor, who later suicided with it.

None of us wants to be the person who didn’t recognize “suicidal ideation” in someone we care about, who later died by their own hand. You know: the situation where at their funeral everyone says, “I realize now he was saying goodbye.”

I had the privilege last night of addressing a group at the Bass Pro Shop/Cabela’s in Litchfield, NH, mostly instructors but also suicide prevention specialists.  I pointed out that if we know how to spot those signs most people don’t know to look for, we can save a person’s life…and more.  We prevent the grief and unnecessary guilt suffered by the people who loved the person who killed himself.

And more still. I talked about the bitterness and pain I’ve seen in the police officers forced to kill someone in a “suicide by cop,” and in my own experience, two cases of “suicide by armed citizen.”  People who didn’t have the guts to end their own life, so they attacked someone else and forced them to pull the trigger.  And I suggested they read “The Mass Murder-Suicide Connection,” by Dr. Scott Bohn, Psychology Today website, 2/22/18.  We are all familiar with the many mass murderers who culminated their atrocities by shooting themselves, and we assume that this was an anticlimax in which they shot themselves to avoid punishment for their horrible crime. Dr. Bohn postulates that sometimes it works in reverse: that the mass murder begins with the decision to end one’s own life, and then the perpetrator decides not to die alone but instead to make himself posthumously famous by taking many innocent victims with him.  If Dr. Bohn is correct, dissuading that individual from his plans for self-destruction may save many other lives as well.

For more information, go here: .

The people who call themselves “Every Town For Firearms Safety” do nothing for firearms safety; they have simply co-opted a meaningful term and attempted to use it as a synonym for blind, mindless Prohibitionism.  The people who actually do teach firearms safety are the ones who save lives, and the integration of the suicide prevention program in that sector is in my humble opinion going to save many more lives.  The New Hampshire Firearms Safety Coalition led the way here, and deserves credit for doing so.

Elaine Frank, founder of the NH Firearms Safety Coalition.

Ralph Demicco

Mas addressing a group of firearms instructors at NHFSC meeting.



  1. There is no doubt that all gun owners need to be aware of the signs of suicidal ideation and need to be prepared to take the right moral action to obtain emergency assistance for any
    suicidal person.

    As we converse in this forum about how best to achieve this laudable goal, click on the two separate links below to see how progressives view “old” and “young” when the subject is
    accessing or possessing firearms.

    “Elderly” gun owners among us, take note of progressives’ views of firearms ownership by aging Americans! Yes, I, too, belong to that ever expanding group of persons over the age of 60.

    NYTimes: In Elderly Hands, Firearms Can Be Even Deadlier

    Click below to see the Ad Council’s current tv ad “End Family Fire” now airing, courtesy of the Brady Campaign. Watch and listen to the entire ad, paying special attention to the manner in which the use of a firearm to protect one’s home and loved ones against dangerous criminals is presented. Also note the definition of the term “Family Fire” shown on screen at the conclusion of the ad.

  2. I am an instructor moving to South Eastern New Hampshire in September. How can I get involved in helping this effort?

  3. I lose sleep occasionally, not as often as in the past, from my failure to recognize an employee’s desperation that eventually led to his suicide. In the military, we learned to harden ourselves against severely stressful situations. My employee was not so trained and I was not sufficiently sensitive to the degree of his desperation. I only wish that there had been a awareness education/training (or in my case de-training) in place where I worked that might have helped. Something like this needs to begin with a slap to the head to get the attention of those who might prevent a dangerous situation or needless death. NHFSC is aimed in the right direction.

  4. Sobering statistic. With nearly 2/3rds of gun violence due to suicide. The media neglects to pass on that stat. I’m sure gun grabbers wouldn’t want to hear it either. Including every town.

  5. This is a very important initiative, and one that I encourage fellow firearms instructors to consider adopting. It seems like a “no-brainer”. I was very impressed by the presentation, and enjoyed attending.

  6. Far too many owners do the rights movement a great disservice by brushing aside the rate of suicide by gun. These nay-sayers make all the rest of us appear to be calloused, insensitive and irresponsible.

    We want to lay claim to be objective. Well, here are the numbers. Sixty-some percent of gun deaths are suicide; thirty-some homicides and just a couple percent accidents. If we cracked the suicide figure we would substantially reduce the objective case for gun-control. We have to face-up to the fact that ours is the original point-and-click user interface for the task at hand. That makes 85% of attempts by gun successful; whereas the rates of success by other means are trivial by comparison.

    Our entire society ought to be looking for signs of despair that portend depression, low levels of productivity, and often suicide attempts. We can start with our own fellow People of the Gun; and, WE the PotG could make ourselves be seen to be taking a leadership position in the public health issue of depression and suicide by any means whatsoever.

    Oh, by the way, we will also save 22,000 gun-rights voters per year; not counting their survivors.

  7. This subject has always been very close to my heart, since I lost a friend to suicide in my senior high school year; another friend’s brother died the same way, in the same year. Both took place in the 1980s, one victim’s parents nearly came to divorce over it all, as I was to learn years later.
    A couple of decades later I found myself in a western state working to help survivors of sexual assault and their families. During this time,a law enforcement contact received some terrible medical news, and that good officer also chose suicide. In each case I wondered what could have been done to save these souls, no such organizations existed where I lived in Cases One and Two, and not enough has IMO been done to prevent more Case Threes. I think programs like the one you’re a part of and shared with us here are a good beginning Mas; I would certainly volunteer with one if my community had such a thing.

  8. After 31 years of military and corrections before retirement, I was as close as it gets to being a subject matter expert in recognizing suicide warning signs. I had dealt with it personally more times than I care to recall, but the first time it hit me personally, was four months after I retired: my 19 year old son, who lived with us, left the house in the middle of the night, went to a secluded place, and killed himself.

    Then over 17 months I went through it again, with a local co-worker (husband of a good friend), a neighbor three doors down my street, a friend I’d worked with almost my entire LE career back in Texas, and then my best friend here in my NH town. It’s a small town north of the notches, and the four suicides in 2014-2015 probably surpass all deaths by gunshot here for at least the previous four decades. We certainly don’t have a homicide issue here, but suicide always sucks for those left behind.

    I was (very briefly) a third-generation railroader. My father and his father spent their lives working for the railroad. Suicide by cop is terrible, but at least the officer in that moment has to decide to act in the split second. The person who commits suicide by train can force an engineer and conductor to watch helplessly for half a mile of screeching brakes, unable to do a damn thing except hold on and watch the inevitable.

  9. Curtis,

    The ad said 8 kids a day are injured by guns. I’m sure that is true if 7.99 of those kids are gang bangers. I loathe the Left.


    What a tragic subject. We baby boomers have dominated all trends since 1946, so the future is geriatrics, and all things related to aging.

    I know there are a lot of suicides in Japan. I wonder if we can learn anything from them.

    In America we prize strength and independence. You need two things in order to be a “winner.” You need health & wealth. How many Americans can have both health and wealth for their entire lives?

    When you don’t have a job, you are a loser. If you get a job, but you don’t make a lot of money, you are still a loser.

    Success or failure is not determined by what we do, it is determined by the Market’s reaction to what we do. The Market chooses winners and losers.

    Maybe we need another value system.

  10. Suicide is a problem with veterans of military service. If you’re out, text someone you served with. Keep the connection. Suicidal ideations are a passing phenomenon. Like seasickness. Look up, look down, find something else to think about. Go see a shrink. Please don’t shoot yourself.

  11. Good article Mas..I am actually one of the Gun Shop Coordinators In St Louis Missouri. I will be going around the state to heighten the attention of this epidemic and to emphasized the importance of being aware of the signs when firearms are purchased and being a CCW trainer I will surely bring attention to this crisis in my classes

  12. How dare an individual decide on their own to commit suicide! In 2018 there are 6 states and DC where you have to get permission to kill yourself. As long as you get the State to authorize it, with all the signed papers and gubbernent approval, well then off you go to the land beyond !!

    Tell me this country isn’t freakin nuts. Lmao

  13. I hope they look into rope misuse next. Nobody wants to lend a rope to a suicidal person. We should have mandatory trading for every home improvement store sales person who sells rope. Let’s ban the purchase of rope from anyone under the age of 18, and require those over 18 to get a permit.

  14. Mas-
    I have learned a great deal reading your email updates, articles and all that you do. Thank you for sharing this vital information.

    I cannot emphasize strongly enough, that this is a pertinent topic and skill all gun owners, young and old now need to be fluent with. Consider it the added responsibility of our choice to own firearms and perhaps introduce them to people who express interest.

    Suicide cuts across the entire spectrum of society, and with statistics so high you just never know who is engaged in suicide ideation.

    My family has been deeply damaged by the loss of our 28 yr old son, Andrew. He died by suicide August 2017 in NH. I am sad to report, none of us were equipped sufficiently to notice the subtle signs he may have expressed.

    I urge you to be proactive, do your best to identify the signs and avoid such a tragedy I am living with now.

  15. Don’t get me wrong. I am all in favor of doing whatever we can to reduce the rate of suicide in this country. I have lost two uncles and one of my best childhood friends to suicide.

    However, don’t deceive yourself that the gun-grabbers will lose interest in firearms-prohibition if we could successfully reduce the numbers of firearms-related suicides and homicides in this country. I guarantee that the gun-grabbers would not back off the least bit.

    You must understand that the leftist firearm-prohibitionists don’t really give a flying-flip about homicide, mass-shootings, suicide or any other form of “so called” gun violence. All of their screaming about preventing gun-violence and suicides and stopping crime and mass-murders is nothing (and I do mean NOTHING) but rationalization and justification for firearms-prohibition. Firearms prohibition is the goal of the exercise NOT the reduction in human deaths. If there was not a single, solitary case of gun-involved homicide, murder, crime or accident in the entire U.S. of A, the leftists would still dream up some reason or justification to continue to push for firearms-prohibition.

    One statistic clearly illustrates the above fact. The rate of deaths due to medical mistakes is 10 times the rate of firearms deaths due to all causes. See this story:

    Do you see numerous leftist activist groups formed to combat medical mistake deaths? Do you see leftist marches protesting medical mistake deaths? Do the leftists use their media lapdogs to flood the airways with propaganda against these deaths? Are they constantly pushing for legislation at the local, State and Federal levels? The answer to all these questions is NO! These deaths, due to medical mistakes, have no bearing or usefulness with respect to left-wing ideology. Therefore, the leftists don’t care about them any more than they care about deaths due to firearm incidents. All the leftists care about is advancing their ideology and seizing power by any means necessary.

    The fact is that firearms-prohibition and disarmament of the population is a core-value of leftist thinking. They want a disarmed population because such a population is easier to control and make dependent upon an all-powerful central government which they see themselves (the leftist elite) as running.

    So, as long as a single leftist is still alive and breathing, he or she will be hell-bent on disarming you. Every gun-owner in America needs to “wrap their head” around this absolute truth!

    I will admit that, if we could reduce the suicide and homicide rates in America, it might reduce the number of non-leftist “Useful Idiots” that flock to support firearms-prohibition because they swallow and buy-into the anti-gun propaganda with which the leftists and their media tools flood the airwaves. However, neither the leftists nor gun-rights supporters are going to be moved by a change in suicide or homicide statistics. At best, it will sway a few percentage points of people in the middle many of which are “low information” voters anyway and will probably never hear of the reduction even if it happens.

  16. My Father was a suicide by gun.ANY effort to reduce the suicide rate is a good thing.unless You have been through it personally.its hard to fully understand how bad it can be to the family/friends left behind.all the things you know in your matter how true they are.that should help in the guilt,anger ect. take a while before it finally hits the heart and soul. No matter how much healing may take place over time.the doubts and second guessing never totally go away. worst yet is triggers to those hard to face feelings.come out of nowhere.and if you don’t know how to recognize will take its toll.

Comments are closed.