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American Association of Suicidology Condemns NRA Tweet

What American firearm owners need is for the NRA to focus its energy on promoting the science of gun violence prevention rather than pitting scientists and gun owners against one another.”
— Dr. Michael Anestis

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES, November 8, 2018 / -- Scientists and the broader gun owning community should work together to solve the problems of gun violence in general and gun suicide in particular. The gun lobby can best serve its constituents by supporting this alliance, advocating for substantially increased funding for gun violence prevention research, accurately reporting the robust and undeniable association between firearm access and death by suicide, and promoting safe storage.

Amidst news of the latest mass shooting, the National Rifle Association tweeted that “self-important doctors” should “stay in their lane” on the issue of reducing gun violence. They further stated that doctors conducting gun violence research appear to have consulted “NO ONE but themselves.” The American Association of Suicidology condemns this divisive and inaccurate statement.

“What American firearm owners need is for the NRA to focus its energy on promoting the science of gun violence prevention rather than pitting scientists and gun owners against one another," said Michael Anestis, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi and Co-chair of AAS’s Firearms and Suicide Committee.

Half of all American suicide deaths – approximately 23,000 each year – result from firearms and nearly two out of every three gun deaths in America is a suicide. Doctors across professions – medicine, psychology, psychiatry, public health, social work, and more – have devoted their careers to understanding the causes of and solutions to this problem. Not only are some of those doctors gun owners themselves, but their work reaches out directly to gun owners. Implying otherwise does nothing but promote unfounded skepticism towards science, which weakens perhaps our greatest tool in fighting the scourge of gun violence.

For more information on the association between firearms and suicide, click here to read the American Association of Suicidology’s position statement.

Media inquiries can be directed to Michael Anestis, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi and Co-chair of AAS's Firearms and Suicide Committee (

For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Reporting on Suicide guidelines for more information.

About AAS: Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes suicide as a research discipline, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at and

Colleen Creighton
American Association of Suicidology
+1 202-237-2280
email us here

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