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

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jonah Bennett Contributor
Font Size:

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, reports.

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.

Access was thought to be a significant factor in the differing suicide rates between Europe and the U.S. The recommendation arrived on the scene quickly because the Navy, like other services, has listed suicide reduction as a major national priority.

“Warning signs that may indicate suicide risk include expressing thoughts of hurting oneself; developing plans and acquiring means to take lethal action; giving away possessions; engaging in uncharacteristic destructive behavior such as substance abuse or violence…and/or expressing feelings of hopelessness, purposelessness or feeling like a burden to others,” a statement from the Navy said.

Guidance from the Navy arrived on November 18, and is one method out of a series of strategies designed to bring down the escalating suicide rate.

“Reducing access to lethal means has been proven to save lives,” said Capt. Mike D. Smith, director, Navy Suicide Prevention Branch. “These voluntary measures are intended to help Sailors avoid taking such irreversible actions to end their lives, and provide the opportunity for intervention and care.”

Supposing a sailor forfeits his weapon, the Navy commander is in charge of ensuring that it is safeguarded and ready to be returned to the sailor upon his request. If the sailor is reluctant to hand over their firearm, the sailor has the option of dismantling it and giving over crucial parts necessary for its operation.

Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact