Gun safety group recommends ‘red flag’ laws to curb veteran suicides


Gun safety group recommends ‘red flag’ laws to curb veteran suicides

by Nikki Wentling
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — If retired Marine Corps Master Sgt. Mike Washington had access to a firearm on some of his darkest days, he would’ve used it on himself.

Washington, 57, is a Gulf War veteran who remained in the Reserves long enough to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His son, Michael Toussaint Washington, also became a Marine. He was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 14, 2008, at age 20.

After his son’s death, Washington reached a breaking point that was exacerbated by what he had experienced during his career as a firefighter for the Seattle Fire Department. He relied on alcohol and struggled with suicidal thoughts before eventually seeking help.

“If I had a weapon handy at that time, I certainly would’ve used it,” Washington said.

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