For the second year in a row, suicides represent nearly 70 percent of all gun deaths in Minnesota. Those working to stop gun violence hope the new data opens more eyes to a concerning trend and dispels some myths as well. Protect Minnesota Executive Director Rashmi Seneviratne, says many suicides by firearm are concentrated in rural parts of the state and often involve older men. As farming communities deal with economic stress, she says guns handed down from previous generations might still be in the family home:

“Past generations have grown up being used to guns for hunting, for food, and that sort of thing, and that’s not necessarily what we’re using it as much for.”

Seneviratne says there’s a concern not enough conversations are happening within these families about safe storage.