It might be close to impossible to stop a suicide attempt at a gun range, but one manager feels that learning people’s body language through the years has possibly helped with prevention of the tragedy.
Ken LeVan is the gun range manager at the Firing Line in Pennsylvania. He’s turned away customers because “it didn’t feel right,” according to The Express-Times.
UPI reports that millions of people go to gun ranges each year and the suicide rate is fairly small. The Firing Line hasn’t had any incidents in the 28 years it’s been open. At a nearby shooting range, two men have committed suicide since April.
LeVan recalled an incident with one potential customer who seemed nervous and was pacing back and forth. Levan turned the man away, avoiding what could have been a bad situation, he said.
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“He was soaking wet from perspiration,” LeVan noted.
The Firing Lane does not screen customers for suicide risk, but LeVan said he’s learned how to read people’s body movements and attitudes during his time as manager. It also helps, though, that two to three police officers are in the range at any given time.
Gun range employees face a tough situation because there is “rarely any way of knowing” if a person is suicidal, said National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Mike Bazinet.
“There are, from time to time, incidents of this sort at gun ranges but they’re very rare,” Bazinet said. “It’s one of these rare tragedies.”