Legislation Aimed at Preventing Suicide Introduced in Congress
New Orleans, LA September 10, 2022—A preventable tragedy in New Orleans has galvanized
the mental health community and propelled a bill to the House of Representatives intended to
reduce gun suicide. The bipartisan bill allows at-risk individuals to place themselves on a
national “do not sell to me” list. In July, U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and John
Curtis (R-UT) introduced bill H.R. 8361, The Preventing Suicide Through Voluntary Firearms
Delay Act—also known as “Donna’s Law.”
“My mom, Donna Nathan, lost a 30-year battle with bipolar disorder on June 26, 2018. She
killed herself with a gun she had just bought that morning,” said Katrina Brees, who is working to
pass “Donna’s Law” to ensure no other family has to lose a loved one to preventable suicide.
“She fought for her life right up until the end. In her last six months, she admitted herself three
times for inpatient psychiatric treatment because she wanted to manage her suicidal ideation.
Each time, she willingly accepted the limitations on liberty that come with a psychiatric
hospitalization in exchange for safety and the prospect of improvement. What she could not
limit, under Louisiana law, was her ability to quickly purchase a gun.”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that in 2020 nearly 46,000 lives were lost to
suicide and 46 percent of those individuals had a known mental health problem. Not
surprisingly, guns are the most common means of suicide among both men and women –
because they are the most successful means. For Donna, and others with mental illnesses such
as bipolar, anxiety and depression, suspending her ability to purchase a gun could have saved
Since Donna’s death, Washington, Utah and Virginia have adopted the law named after her.
Thanks to the introduction of H.R. 8361, Donna’s Law now has the opportunity to become a
Those who want to help suicidal individuals help themselves by preventing their access to
firearms can make a difference by emailing their Representative today and urging them to pass
H.R. 8361, “Donna’s Law”.
Endorsing organizations include American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP),
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI),
National Education Association (NEA), and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE).