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Community members urge gun owners to takes steps in preventing gun-related suicides

According to 2015 data from the CDC, guns are the most common method used in suicide deaths. In Iowa, guns account for about one-third of all suicides.

Besides gun control, many people across the United States are calling for better mental health screening and new security measures to cut down on gun deaths.

Here in the corridor, gun shop owner Ernie Traugh said there is a bigger issue almost everyone can help with right now, which is preventing suicide deaths associated with the use of guns.

Traugh is the owner of Cedar Valley Outfitters, and while he does not believe the tool used to inflict violence should be to blame for that violence, he having access to a gun is not always a good thing.

"There are times that you maybe need to have those tools not accessible to people that are in a bad place," he said.

That message hit close to home when a friend told Traugh one of his customers recently committed suicide using a gun.

"He literally said, will you make a video? Will you do something about this," said Traugh.

He created a Facebook video on Tuesday, which has now reached thousands of views in less than 24 hours, urging members of the gun community to seek help or recommend help in fighting suicide.

"We know that often deaths by suicide are linked to a connection with firearms because it's a more effective means of ending one's life," said Elisabeth Kissling, Marketing Director for Foundation 2.

According to 2015 data from the CDC, guns are the most common method used in suicide deaths.

In Iowa, guns account for about one-third of all suicides.

"We want to connect with people about the resources, and help that's available," said Kissling.

A new partnership between the Foundation 2 crisis center and Cedar Valley Outfitters is letting gun owners know they have the option to temporarily surrender their guns if their thoughts are in a bad place.

"I want to change the stigma that 'oh my god if I do that I'll never have a gun again'," he said.

In most cases, Traugh said it takes filling out a federal form and a couple minutes to get those guns back.

It is an option he thinks not many people know they have or will make for themselves.

"it's certainly something we encourage clients to consider when we talk to them," said Kissling.

Both said reaching out to friends or family going through mental struggle could help them find solutions like surrendering their gun or storing it in a safe.

They said this is a mission gun owners and mental health advocates can get behind together.

Traugh said he will have Foundation 2 pamphlets located inside his store for any customers who are, or know someone, struggling with thoughts of suicide.

For more on how to help a loved one or seek help for yourself, you can contact Foundation 2 through their site or reach out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or by calling 1-800-273-8255.

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