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In January 2017, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) announced it was partnering with the controversial, Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in an initiative to reduce gun suicide. Since that time, the AFSP has publicly shunned gun control advocates across the country.
The AFSP-NSSF partnership was supposed to focus on the distribution of suicide prevention materials at gun stores, ranges and clubs across the country. Sadly, there is no evidence that any such materials have been distributed. Meanwhile, AFSP has been removing gun violence survivors and GVP advocates from their ranks:
- The executive director of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, Nick Wilson, was invited to speak at AFSP’s “Out of the Darkness” walk in Portland, Maine on September 24, 2017. He was taken off the agenda at the last minute by national AFSP staff who said they did not want to be seen “endorsing gun control.”
- On October 28, 2017, NSSF materials were distributed at an AFSP walk in San Diego, California. San Diego Brady and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense volunteers were told they could not hand out their materials, however. “As a suicide prevention organization, we are not in the business of saying who can and cannot own firearms,” AFSP’s Jessica van der Stad told them.
- One Pulse for America member Erin Dunkerly published an op-ed in the New York Times on December 26, 2017 detailing her removal from the board of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of AFSP. Dunkerly joined AFSP after her father committed suicide with a gun. According to Erin,”despite what it claims, the AFSP doesn’t have a neutral stance on guns.”
Meanwhile, the NSSF continues to lobby against virtually every solution that could help to curb gun suicide, including Child Access Prevention laws, Emergency Risk Protection Orders and smart gun technology.
Please contact AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia through one of the channels below and give him the following message:
I am deeply disturbed to see AFSP suppressing peer-reviewed research regarding the risks of keeping firearms in the home. The way that AFSP is treating gun control supporters is also of great concern. Gun violence survivors like Erin Dunkerly and GVP advocates like Nick Wilson have worked with local AFSP advocates on the ground for decades. Is your initiative with NSSF worth treating your friends in this manner? I can assure you I will not be supporting the activities of AFSP until you revoke this offensive policy of removing gun violence survivors & GVP advocates from your organization and prohibiting them from participating in your suicide prevention walks. This is simply unacceptable and it is NOT how we move forward on suicide prevention in this country.
AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia
Phone: (212) 363-3500, ext. 2012
After you contact Robert Gebbia, click the orange banner below to report taking action!