US military gun control recommendations from a Pentagon panel
US military gun control recommendations from a Pentagon panel

Washington: It has been suggested that American service members be subject to gun control laws to make it more difficult for them to commit suicide by themselves by a Pentagon advisory panel set up to help address a suicide crisis in the US military.

According to a plan presented on Friday by the Pentagon's suicide prevention committee, all soldiers over the age of 25 would be prohibited from purchasing firearms on US bases and would have to wait seven days before doing so. 

The group demanded a waiting period on ammunition sales and the creation of a database to monitor firearms purchases made on US military property, which would necessitate the repeal of legislation that Congress passed in 2013 that forbade such actions.

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According to panellist Craig Bryan, an expert in safety at Ohio State University, "there's arguably only one thing that all researchers agree on when we look at the science of suicide prevention." "And that one thing is that the single most effective method for saving lives is to take steps to slow down convenient access to highly lethal weapons like firearms."

Such actions would put the US military, which purportedly exists to protect American freedoms, in the awkward position of restricting the constitutional gun rights of its own service members. Whether the Pentagon and Congress choose to implement some or all of the panel's recommendations is up to them.

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The advisory committee was established by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in March. The Pentagon declared that it has "taken note" of the report and will use it to improve its current suicide prevention strategy. The department's employees are its most valuable resource, and Secretary Austin has made it clear that they will exert every effort to stop suicide and save lives.

Even though the military implemented specialised training and intervention measures, the number of suicide deaths among US active-duty soldiers increased by 44% between 2015 and 2020, reaching 384. According to the Veterans Administration, on average, 17 former US military personnel commit suicide daily.

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According to reports, more than 113,000 firearms were sold in 2021 at stores on US military bases. According to the advisory committee, two thirds of active-duty military suicides involved guns.

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