Firearm safety

MADISON — A bipartisan coalition of legislators including Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, has introduced a bill to provide a sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of gun safes.

Additional bill authors include Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, Rep. Cody Horlacher, R-Mukwonago, and Rep. Shelia Stubbs, D-Madison.

“As a medical examiner and former school employee, I know that every suicide is tragic and community-altering,” Schachtner said in a news release. “Safe gun storage is crucial to decreasing the risk of accidental shootings and suicide, especially among children.”

Wisconsin’s rate of child suicide is close to 33 percent higher than the national rate, and the state's overall suicide rate was higher than the national average for all but one year between 2008 and 2018.

The most common method of suicide is by firearm, and according to recent research, 48 percent of individuals who have attempted suicide deliberated for 10 or fewer minutes. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the safe securing of a firearm reduces the risk of suicide by firearm, the news release stated.

“Secure firearm storage through a gun safe provides crucial time for those contemplating suicide to cool down and reflect, potentially preventing an impulsive and preventable action,” Schachtner said. “I am thankful for the bipartisan support this proposal has received. We must work together to address the suicide epidemic that is impacting every Wisconsin community.”