Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, today urged his colleagues to support H.R. 8361, the Preventing Suicide Through Voluntary Firearm Purchase Delay Act. This legislation would help to prevent deaths by allowing people to voluntarily place themselves onto a “do not sell” list, preventing them from being able to purchase a firearm. This bipartisan legislation is modeled on past successful laws in Washington, Utah, and Virginia.
A transcript of the Congressman’s remarks is below.
Thank you, Chairman Nadler, for bringing this suicide prevention bill to markup today.
We have a mental health crisis in this country and we are losing far too many Americans to suicide.
And [over] half of these suicides are committed with a firearm, leading to 24,000 deaths each year.
The odds of a suicide attempt ending in death are 140 times higher when a gun is involved.
A 2020 Stanford Medical School study found that men who own a gun are eight times more likely to die of a gun-related suicide than those who don’t have a firearm. With women, they are 35 times more likely to die of a gun related suicide than those who don’t have a firearm.
These are alarming – and important – statistics, and we can do something about it.
We need to acknowledge, and act on, the link between firearms and suicides. This bill does that and takes a step towards helping people: allowing someone who knows that they are struggling with their mental health to voluntarily enroll themselves onto a “do not sell” list, preventing them from purchasing [a] gun until they remove themselves from the list.
This really sensible bipartisan bill is a smart solution that puts no onus on anyone. It simply allows someone to make a decision for themselves to protect their own life.
Sadly, we all have constituents, or family members, or friends who have lost a loved one by suicide using a firearm. This legislation allows us to do something about it. And you know, some people will say, well the figure that the sponsor, Congresswoman Jayapal, mentioned was[n’t] too high of a number, I am from a religious tradition that if we save one life by this passage of this bill, we’ve saved everyone. And so, to the families and loved ones who have had to deal with the unbearable pain of losing a loved one to suicide by using a firearm, this is a welcome action that hopefully can prevent others from confronting the same heartbreak.
So, I wanted to thank Congresswoman Jayapal for her thoughtful leadership on this bill. It will help reduce the number of people that we are tragically losing to suicide every single day in this country.
I support this legislation strongly, and urge my colleagues to do the same.
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