Last year, the Pentagon established the Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee (SPRIRC) tasked with making recommendations to prevent service member suicides. The SPRIRC made 115 recommendations, including two major gun control proposals.
The Committee recommended military bases implement a seven-day waiting period on all firearm purchases and a four-day waiting period on all ammo purchases, CNN reported.
“… epidemiological studies have found that mandatory waiting periods after firearm purchases are correlated with lower suicide rates,” the study states. “… Each retailer will be required to develop a system that tracks when a firearm was purchased and when ammunition may be purchased.”
The Committee also recommended raising the minimum purchasing age for firearms and ammunition to 25 on all Department of Defense facilities and “restricting the possession and storage of privately owned firearms in military barracks and dormitories.”
There’s a BIG issue here: the Committee wants every DoD retailer to create a tracking system. This is effectively creating a registry, which is illegal. We have no way of knowing that this type of registry won’t be used for confiscation purposes down the road.
I’m all about doing whatever we can to limit service member and veteran suicides, but it needs to be within the confines of the law and the Constitution. It’s ridiculous to say we trust 18-year-olds to go to war and defend our country overseas, but we don’t trust them enough to purchase and own firearms outside of war. Not every single 18-year-old service member is going to attempt suicide, and having these blanket bans punishes those that serve our country.
We don’t need gun control laws to address this issue. We need to provide resources, like counseling, to our service members and remove the stigma behind getting help. More than anything though, we need to reform gun laws. A service member suffering from PTSD shouldn’t become a prohibited possessor because they seek mental health help. Most of them are afraid to ask for help because they know they’ll never be allowed to lawfully possess a firearm again if they are need temporary mental health counseling. Instead of getting help, they suffer in silence. And it’s wrong.