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Bill Aims To Prevent Suicide Deaths by Firearm

Democratic Delegate Rip Sullivan discusses HB198.

While the majority of gun control bills have already died during this year’s General Assembly session, a few are still alive.

While Virginia’s homicide rate has been on the decline over the past decade, the trend for suicides has been the exact opposite. In 2015, over 600 Virginians used a firearm to end their lives, compared with less than 300 homicide deaths by firearms that same year.

Democratic Delegate Rip Sullivan has introduced a bill that would create a risk warrant to allow family members of individuals at risk to themselves or others to appeal to a judge to prohibit the person from holding or purchasing a gun. “If we can get the guns out of the hands of a person contemplating suicide before he or she does it, we’ve saved a life.”

Sullivan says the bill is modeled after a law in Connecticut that has been shown to prevent suicides.

The House bill was referred to the courts of justice committee earlier this week.