Medical College of Wisconsin aims to curb suicides by collaborating with gun owners, veterans

Natalie Eilbert

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 28, 2024

WAUSAU – The woman had a plan. First, she would go grocery shopping to stock the shelves for her family, then she would drive into the woods with a six-pack and her husband’s rifle to end her life.

But as she backed out of her driveway — the woods to her right and a hospital to her left — she remembered the small kindnesses two college women paid her at the supermarket.

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Guns and mental health are taboos. They are focus of a Journal Sentinel event May 16.

John Diedrich Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 

On a drive from Milwaukee to Wausau last spring, I had lots of time to think about a project I was working on about gun deaths in Wisconsin and the interviews that lie head.

I had found that 71 out of every 100 gun deaths in Wisconsin each year are suicides and a record number of people had taken their lives with firearms in 2022. The state’s rural counties are getting hit hardest, places near Wausau and north. More importantly, I also learned that gun owners were working on solutions. 

So I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could have an event with gun owners talking to gun owners about these issues? Fast-forward a year and that event is happening.

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Behind the Gun: Read the project about firearms deaths in Wisconsin here

John Diedrich Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Updated Feb 6, 2024

Gun deaths have doubled in Wisconsin since 2004, a trend being driven by suicides, especially in the rural parts of the state, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found.

Over the course of a year, the Journal Sentinel examined the full extent of gun deaths in Wisconsin. It conducted a first-of-its-kind effort to obtain gun death data from every county, talked to dozens of gun owners about their experiences with firearms, and conducted the most in-depth survey of gun owners in Wisconsin to date.

The team, led by reporter John Diedrich, found that Milwaukee County does not have the highest gun death rate in the state when suicides are included. The project also highlighted efforts among gun owners to reduce suicides, for instance, a grassroots program by gun stores to temporarily hold firearms for people during a crisis.

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Suicide hits gun owners hard, but few were talking about it — until an industry insider began

John Diedrich Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Updated Feb 26, 2024

As a 21-year-old who grew up in San Francisco, Mike Sodini was plenty uncomfortable at his first gun show in 1998.  Sodini’s family ran a firearms business in New Jersey, but he was raised on the other side of the country by his mother. He knew almost nothing about guns, yet he was expected to step into the business after college.

At the gun shows, Sodini saw a lot of tough guys, some who he would discover were quietly living with depression and other mental health challenges. Sometimes, one would just disappear and Sodini would later learn the man had ended his life with a gun.

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Firearm Owners Encouraged to Use Gun Storage Facilities

Makayla Hardy Apr 16, 2024 Updated Apr 19, 2024

Having a safe and secure place to lock away a gun can save lives. What some people may not know is there are gun storage options available outside the home.

John Dunlap, owner of Dunlap Gun Storage, says that their clients have a wide range of reasons for entrusting their firearms with them. While some people feel more comfortable keeping their guns nearby, others may be in a situation such as moving, going on vacation, or military deployment where they prefer to store them in a facility rather than leave them at home.

“We have grandparents who have grandchildren visiting that don’t have a good way to prevent access,” said John Dunlap.

Check out the rest of this News story!