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Butte leaders emphasize gun safety to reduce teen suicide - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Butte leaders emphasize gun safety to reduce teen suicide

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Teen  suicide in Butte has been a troubling issue in recent years, and Sheriff Ed Lester and Father Patrik Berretta are working to address the problem. Teen suicide in Butte has been a troubling issue in recent years, and Sheriff Ed Lester and Father Patrik Berretta are working to address the problem.
BUTTE -

Youth suicide in Butte has been a troubling issue in recent years.

MTN'S John Emeigh tells us about a local sheriff and priest who have teamed up to do their part in suicide prevention.

Father Patrick Berretta attended the funeral of a young boy who took his own life with a firearm earlier this year and it moved him to take action.

“The pain and the sadness was haunting to me. That's why I told Sheriff Lester, we've got to do something, something that you and I can bring to the attention of the public, we have to do something, said Beretta.”

Father Berretta and Sheriff Ed Lester started a campaign encouraging gun owners to lock up firearms or use gun locks on them. Butte's recent rash of teen suicides were all done with firearms impulsive actions that may have been prevented by a simple safety measure.

“If that firearm wasn't available or had been secured with a gun lock, things may have been different, said Lester.”

Montana is a gun culture, there’s practically a firearm in every house and that's why the sheriff and Father Berretta said they wanted to start a program that emphasizes gun safety.

“It's outside the gun control issue, we don't want to get wrapped up in a political situation. We simply want to talk about one issue that everyone can agree on and that is firearm safety, said Lester.”

The pair have written letters and given lectures to groups about gun safety and given away free gun locks to gun owners. They acknowledge that suicide is a complex issue, but both men want to do whatever they can to prevent further tragedies.

“As long as I can make a small contribution, I'm going to take that opportunity. Everyone has a chance to make a difference, said Beretta.”

“We all have been given the gift of being merciful and compassionate to one another, and my encouragement to the community is let's use it, let's extend it to many people and as often as we can, said Beretta.”

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