The Pentagon appears ready to take on gun rights advocates this year in order to give commanders the ability to restrict troops at high risk of suicide from keeping their personal firearms easily available in their homes.
Some Army leaders had previously encouraged troops to use gun locks on their weapons at home, or recommended that high-risk troops lock up their personal weapons on base if they were believed to be high risk. But the National Rifle Association and gun advocates objected and Congress barred that practice in last year’s defense authorization bill.
But with military suicides continuing to climb, key leaders are not giving up on regaining a tool they considered helpful in saving some troops’ lives.
“There’ll be a broad discussion on that,” Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told Military.com Wednesday, after a senior Pentagon official stressed the importance of the policy at a conference on military and veterans suicide.
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, an Army Reserve brigadier general who serves as assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, had told the conference the services must get better at recognizing people at risk of suicide and then doing what they know works to improve the odds.
“In many circumstances, awareness of risk means removing firearms from those who we believe are at risk of harming themselves or others,” he said. “I would ask all of you at this conference to commit to making reasonable recommendations that will guide uniform policy that will allow separation of privately owned firearms from those believed to be at risk of suicide.”
Those may prove to be fighting words to the NRA, which lobbied for the ban on personal gun restrictions even as the Army revealed its increasing numbers of military suicides and made the link between the deaths and personal weapons.
Former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, in an interview with CNN, said the best way to reduce suicide among troops is to take the weapons away from those who appear likely to hurt themselves.
“A majority of [suicides] have two things in common, alcohol and a gun,” he told the network. “And when you have somebody that you in fact feel is high risk, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to tell that individual that it would not be a good idea to have a weapon around the house.”
The NRA, however, not only thought it unreasonable, but the director of its lobbying arm called it “preposterous,” arguing Army leaders’ actions were intrusive on soldiers’ rights to own their own guns if they chose.
Chris Cox slammed a proposal to make restrictions that were being applied locally into a military-wide policy.
As a result Cox, the NRA and Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe crafted legislation put into the 2011 defense bill that barred the secretary of defense from issuing any regulation or policy on legally owned personal firearms or ammunition kept by troops or civilian employees off base, or from collecting any information on their guns or ammo.
The Pentagon this month released figures showing that military suicides jumped after leveling off in 2010-11. Figures show that 154 servicemembers took their own lives during the first 155 days of 2012.
“We know that firearms play a prominent role in completed suicides, particularly with males,” Woodson said. “We need to have a straightforward conversation in our community about what actions make a difference, and it is about communities, it’s not about authorities imposing regulations, but about preparing communities to be partners in this process.”
The problem lies in the fact that the military is identifying at risk individuals and failing to treat them properly. I would say that taking their guns away may delay their suicide but if the military really feels that someone is a suicide risk why are they no admitted to a hospital for treatment?
P.S. IF THEY ARE GOING TO KILL THERE SELF, THEY SURE DON'T NEED A GUN, YOU & I KNOW
THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO KILL YOURSELF. JUST SAYING...THIS IS A GAME TO TAKE FIRE ARMS FROM EVERYONE.
They are going to use Phsychiatrists which are already looney them selves to declare every returning soldier to be at risk and then there would be nothing to stop them from disarming our great military. Our military should deal with the problem before they send them home. What do they have doctors for anyway. There Officers should be able to talk and council our troops about any problems they might have. I would not want to be the one to tell a returning vet he had to turn in all of his personel guns because of a nutcase Phsychiatrist. They will twist everything you say to make there point of view. They are trained to decieve and trick you into saying the wrong thing. DONT TRUST THEM EVER they are just like lawyers and cops.
I believe you are right, Twana. Back when I was a college student, I lived with two psych grad students. They actually left the doctoral programs because they would not follow the standard party lines and they were subjected to unending harassment because they disagreed with it. Psychiatry is NOT the profession to determine what is and what is not NORMAL. They go by societal norms, which as we all know, are supremely screwed up these days. Also, most of them are the products of the communist agenda that has been driving our education systems for the past 40 years, from elementary schools on up.
I keep thinking that returning vets should have a good sit down with a board comprised of older vets, a clergy member from the vet's congregation, parents and spouses of returned vets and fellow recently returned vets who will understand the stresses faced by each of these soldiers. This group would be most able to determine who is and who is not in need of further services.
Golden Eagle: You're plan should be expanded across the nation. Teleconference planning and organizing makes it more possible and effective. We need older VFW and American Legion members and auxilliary to mass communicate totheadministration that we shall be taking this out of their hands as those in Washington will need time to be relieved of their duties. As we press to get the communists out of our government this is Most definitely an important facet of resuming control. We saw a juxtaposed atmosphere in the Soviet Union where they were shoving people into prison likehospitals for NOTtowing the partyline. This house of horrors is where we are headed and they are starting weith our most valuable resource-our military,. We require an open and expanded public forum on this and other things. But this theme here is a WARNING BELL.
We began this nonsense about fifteen years ago when every other kid in school was labelled as "ADHD" if they demanded a real curriculum rather than the crap they were being fed. This is the common communist tactic - to label and "treat" those who don't follow the party line. Remember, they don't want independent, thoughtful individuals in their society, they need robots who will do their bidding without asking questions or making waves.
We are already doing this and the traitor in chief has issued all kinds of executive orders to expand these authorities and powers to his devoted minions. Many people just keep their heads down and do what they're told these days, because if they don't, they lose their jobs and ability to feed their families. Those of us who are older can lose our retirement funds and savings if we have to battle trumped up legal charges, designed to break us financially and get our focus back on following the party line and feeding ourselves and providing for our own needs. This is the insidious way communists take hold of a society. For us in this country right now, it is too late to fight this at the ballot box. Other strategies must be devised.
They need to disarm the returning vets. These are the ones who have the knowledge and training, therefore the power to take them down. It behooves the criminals in charge to label, disarm and "treat" these individuals, whether or not they are sick. The label of "suicidal" is in reference to themselves, not the returning soldiers. For if they allow these individuals to remain armed, they are dangerous to them. It is a sick, SICK country we are living in these days. I am not a veteran, but lock and load is what I believe needs to be in place for all true patriots. I'm not hearing warning bells, but screaming sirens.
Have you ever worked with Psy-OPS types? Ever met a psych student?
Maybe your mileage may vary, but every, stinkin one I've met had something loose.
Keep in mind that even psychologists think there is way too much quackery going on. Back in the early 1970's, then-APA President Leona Tyler set forth what was supposed to be a guiding principle (named after her) that, when speaking to the public about psychology, official statements were supposed to be supported by scientifically-valid research, supported by evidence ('evidence-based treatment').
In 1973, closeted homosexual activists seized control of key positions within the organization and have since them solidified their stranglehold on the organization. Much of that entailed directing the organization into supporting politically-correct positions, unsupported by science, and squelching any voices to the contrary. (See APA Symposium Focuses on Destructive Trends in Mental Health - NARTH).
It has gotten so bad that the APA was called before Congress and dressed down, after the APA published a study in 1998, alleging that child molestation wasn't necessarily a bad thing for kids.
Back in 2005 one of the former presidents urged the APA to return to evidence-based treatment and reinstating the Leona Tyler Principle. The speaker's proposal was met with a furious rejection.
In other words, don't confuse the APA with stuff like science, facts and the Truth.
Good thought, re NRA. I'm going to a couple of their sites and do some posting on this issue. Tag along if you'd like.
How convenient is it to forbid soldiers to have weapons at home rather than addressing the root cause(s). Historically, there have not been the enormous and tragic number of suicides. This is an anomaly and, as such, needs to be researched. I know the military well and the camaraderie is usually great. However, low pay and the most basic housing, added to being absent for long periods of time, causes many marriages to fall apart. Women need to be supported so men can feel good about doing their jobs overseas without knowing their families are experiencing hardship. My husband was over for two Middle Eastern wars for a total of 7 years and I raised 4 boys alone. Thankfully, others stepped in to help but, as a working Mom and travelling, it was no picnic. I was also fixated on CNN every night watching for scud missile attacks and such. The conditions in the desert for the most recent wars are hardship postings. It is ridiculously hot in the desert and in full uniform moreso. Fighting an enemy who is willing to commit suicide to kill Westerners is a tough challenge. Trying to be nice to the local civilians while not really knowing who the enemy is can be immensely stressful. PTSD rates have soared. Now, with many at home opposing the war, it is even harder to stay motivated. Look at the grassroots problems and fix them. The rest will sort itself out and suicides will be reduced if not eradicated.
Thank you Linda for your faithfulness to our nation, your husband and family....and sharing of the sacrifice that doesn't stop in the war-zone.......
These liberals just keep trying and trying to make slaves out of us.
Guns don't kill people, people do.
1. Maybe officials should instead be looking into the root causes of the suicides and eliminating them? ... Extended multiple deployments, separation from loved ones, treacherous "allies", poor conditions, poor leadership, drugs, alcohol, questionable strategies/objectives, illegitimate "Commander-in-Chief," to name just a few.
2. Resourceful military men can find numerous ways to do away with themselves, such as pills, Carbon monoxide from car exhausts, cars, drugs, continual exposure to speeches from Liar-in-Chief, etc.