IN Group: Restricting Gun Access Could Help Prevent Suicides

By Mike Moen • Indiana News Service

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and Indiana advocates pushing for stricter gun laws say access to firearms should get more attention, especially when domestic violence is factored in.

In Indiana, there were 101 firearm-related suicides recorded by the Gun Violence Archive between 2020 and 2022. More than half were either murder-suicides or attempted murder-suicides.

Jerry King, president of the group Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence, said it means too many people are caught up in volatile situations with deadly outcomes. 

“If you have an angry partner who can quickly grab a gun in the heat of passion, that’s just as dangerous and as lethal as can be,” King noted.

The group questions a state law allowing someone convicted of domestic violence to petition to have their gun-ownership right restored five years later. It also wants reversal of the state’s “Permitless Carry” law adopted this year.

Supporters of the policy, which applies to handguns, argued background checks for purchases still offer protection, and people should not have to jump through extra hoops to defend themselves in public. 

King argued there should be broader efforts to promote or require safe storage of firearms with the hope of preventing more suicides, and he emphasized it should go beyond the home.

“A good portion of these suicides happen in people’s cars,” King pointed out. “Some states have adopted policies that guns in personal vehicles also need to be stored in a box.”

He is referring to portable gun safes designed for vehicles. King stressed having a firearm securely stored away added seconds to a crisis situation which could potentially slow the person down while they reconsider their actions.

States such as California and Connecticut have added vehicle storage requirements in recent years. A national advocacy group gives Indiana a failing grade for its overall storage laws.