National Gun Violence Awareness Day: Wear orange to take a stand against gun violence

    On the first Friday of June, the nation unites to recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Day, a solemn occasion that highlights the grave danger of suicide in relation to gun violence. This important day aims to bring attention to the devastating impact of suicide connected to firearms and commemorate the lives lost. Communities across the country hold events to mark the fifth annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day, known as #WearOrange Day.

    This day holds particular significance as it honors the memory of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who tragically fell victim to gun violence in Chicago in 2013, just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inauguration parade. To honor Hadiya, her friends began wearing orange, a color that now symbolizes the fight against gun violence and serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for change.

    While gun violence encompasses a complex range of issues affecting our society, it is vital to recognize that a significant portion of gun-related deaths is attributed to suicide. According to the latest research, an alarming 54% of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. in 2021 were suicides. These statistics highlight the critical need to address the intersection of firearms and mental health when discussing gun violence.

    Every year, over 100,000 individuals are shot in the United States, resulting in approximately 38,000 fatalities. The devastating reality is that an average of 100 people are shot and killed every day. Among these victims are individuals of all ages, from children and teenagers to adults and seniors. The specter of gun violence knows no bounds and has a profound impact on every segment of society.

    National Gun Violence Awareness Day provides an opportunity to recognize responsible gun owners and the need to properly lock, store, and separate ammunition. By donning the color orange on this day, we visibly demonstrate our unwavering commitment to addressing the issue of gun violence, including its profound impact on suicide rates.

    It is crucial to emphasize that National Gun Violence Awareness Day does not seek to strip away the right to bear arms. Instead, it calls for responsible gun ownership and measures to prevent firearms from falling into the hands of individuals in crisis. By finding common ground and working together, we can strive for solutions that promote safety and well-being within our communities.

    To promote responsible gun ownership, Fremont County Prevention offers free gun locks, an essential tool in ensuring the secure storage of firearms. For more information on obtaining gun locks, please reach out to Tauna Groomsmith at [email protected] or call 307-851-1667.

    Moreover, it is vital to underscore the need for accessible resources and training to address the intersection of gun violence and suicide. Healthcare and social services providers can benefit from free online training such as the Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM Course). This training equips individuals with the necessary skills to engage in compassionate conversations about means safety and reduce access to lethal means, including firearms and medication. Such interventions have the potential to save lives and make a tangible difference for individuals at risk of suicide.

    National Gun Violence Awareness Day serves as a poignant reminder that we have the power to combat gun violence, including the alarming rates of suicide linked to firearms. By acknowledging the interconnected nature of gun violence and mental health, we can foster understanding, support, and change within our communities. Together, we can strive towards a future where every life is valued and protected from the devastating impact of gun violence and suicide.

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