Navy Tries To Reduce Suicides With A ‘Give Us Your Gun’ Policy

(Nov. 17, 2014) Sailors participate in a small-arms live-fire exercise on the flight deck of the Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 2 flagship USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55). SNMG-2 is in the Mediterranean supporting Operation Active Endeavour, NATO's maritime response to deterring terrorist activity in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda S. Kitchner/Released)

A new policy to get guns out of the hands of suicidal personnel has been forwarded by the Navy to reduce suicides among its sailors. The idea is that if commanders suspect a serious level of suicidal ideations or behavior, they now have the authority to request that sailor to give up any firearms for a temporary period of time, although the Navy emphasized that the request will not be forced. At any time, the sailor is free to decline. This latest move comes as a result of a study of suicides in the military, which looked at deaths between the years of 2010-12. Researchers discovered that suicides were highest in combat zones and lowest in Europe where soldiers had less access to weapons. In 2012 and 2013, firearms were involved in half of all Navy suicides.

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