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State senator introduces bill with goal of reducing suicide rate

The Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, Wis.
The Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, Wis.(WEAU)
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 12:38 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - A state senator from Madison has introduced a bill she believes will reduce the state’s suicide rate.

Democratic Senator Melissa Agard of Madison said the bill would create the Firearm Self-Exclusion Program. The program would allow people to voluntarily prohibit themselves from purchasing a handgun in Wisconsin.

“This bill provides those who are suffering from suicide ideation or other mental health issues a path forward-- a path of empowerment and safety. We know that most suicides are carried out by firearm. If we can save even one life by passing this legislation, it will be a victory,” Agard said.

The proposal was modeled after gambling self-exclusion programs in other states like Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa.

“Let me be clear, this bill will not take away anyone’s firearms. It is a purely voluntary program. Those who are fearful of what actions they might take can decide to voluntarily prohibit themselves from possessing a firearm for a period of time, until they feel that moment of crisis has lifted,” she said.

Agard said the bill is about saving lives.

If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential.

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