Chris J.

This story discusses Veteran Suicide, Gun Suicide, and Safe Storage.

Growing up, my brother and I were like a dynamic duo out there. We both would end up joining the military. I enlisted in the Air Force in ‘99 and Adam joined the Marine Corps in 2006. For the longest time, we were each other’s best friends. It’s like he was that person that was just connected to me all of the time.

By 2012, he was struggling through a crisis with the Marines due to some things he experienced in combat, along with medical issues. It would eventually lead to his departure from the military. He struggled a lot with the transition.

I was halfway around the world in Afghanistan with my deployment about to be wrapped up when Adam first attempted suicide. I got a call and immediately departed Afghanistan to my home in Las Vegas where I met my newborn son for the first time. We then drove together to San Diego to visit my brother in the ICU. We didn’t quite know if Adam was gonna make it.

For years after, Adam continued to struggle. Then, in 2017, I received a text from my stepmother. She's like, hey, I need you to call me as as soon as possible.

And that's when I found out my brother had died by gun suicide. It took me a long time to deal with losing my brother. And in the year that followed, several other Veterans that I was friends with died by gun suicide, as well. I was probably naive in getting the right help that I needed at the time. I knew all the resources. I think it was the shock of it all which was there for quite some period of time, where I’m like, “Oh, I’m strong enough. I can go back to work.” I coped with it initially with work and alcohol.

Eventually, I cracked. And that’s what led me into some some bad decisions and some legal issues of my own.

And that's where my story of having the firearm locked up probably ended up saving my life. I was very compromised by the trauma and stress, very vulnerable. It helped to put a barrier up when I was having suicidal ideation. I eventually sought treatment in 2018 through a Veteran-centric nonprofit. It was the first time that I found true help for this issue. Everyone there could relate to what I was going through. That really jump started it. I got more and more involved. It became a calling to get out there and inform as many people as I could that there’s support out there for them.

With firearms, a lot of it came down to my experience in the military. The first thing we ever discussed in firearms training is safety, safety, safety.

When it comes to safe storage in the home, there’s a lot of fear and anxiety about being protected or protecting your home. But if you need quick access, there are methods with new technologies like biometric safes. Because the most important thing is protecting who’s inside your home, too.


The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, text or call 988, or chat at