Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Access to guns and military suicides

 April 5, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, April 5th.

Efforts to tighten gun sale rules to prevent military suicides.

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The S-D-S-U men’s basketball team is back in San Diego.

Hundreds of fans were on campus yesterday to welcome the team back and celebrate the team’s historic March Madness run.

They’re the first men’s basketball team from the Mountain West division to make it past the Sweet 16.

Where they won in the Elite 8 and then final 4, but lost in the national championship game Monday night.

S-D-S-U will host a parade for the men’s basketball team this Saturday.

The parade will start at 10 in the morning, and reach Petco Park by 11, where there will be speakers and presentations.


San Diego’s largest watch party for the championship game Monday was overwhelmed with fans.

Once Viejas Arena reached max capacity, many S-D-S-U supporters got stuck outside in an unruly situation.

SDSU alum Karla Jorgensen and her family didn’t make it inside.

“Between the students and the alumni and just the city in general that wanted to come and watch the game, I don't think they realized how much support they were going to have.”

Some fans waiting outside eventually pushed through the gates or jumped over the fence.

Law enforcement had to step in to control the crowds.

The S-D-S-U Police Department said they’re “appalled” that fans ignored directions from security officials.


The new West Mission Bay Drive Bridge, is now open to drivers, pedestrians and bikes.

It’s the largest bridge replacement in the city of San Diego’s history.

It cost almost 150-million-dollars.

The original bridge was built in 19-50, and had been declared “functionally obsolete'' when the replacement project began in 20-18.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


A committee appointed by the Pentagon to study military suicides wants to make it harder for troops to buy and access personal firearms.

While military leaders have embraced some of the group's other suicide-prevention ideas, such as increasing mental health care, they have not committed to the gun rules.

Military reporter Andrew Dyer reports for the American Homefront Project.

A year and a half ago, a 23-year-old Marine in California used a gun he kept in his barracks to kill himself. “My name is Tanya Mort, my son is Anthony…Anthony Muhlstadt. He was a sergeant in the Marine Corps. He was serving with the one-seven at twentynine palms.” Situated in the Mojave Desert, Marine Corps Base twentynine Palms is sprawling and isolated. Firearms are not allowed in the barracks. But periodic room inspections never uncovered it. Tanya Mort “I honestly believe that if he would not have had that weapon, ok, just those extra few minutes, extra few hours without having that easy access, he would still be here. 100%, he would still be here if that gun had been in the armory.” Craig Bryan, Clinical Psychologist, Ohio State University“We’re hearing mulitple times from military lawyers, investigators, quotes and things along the lines the way that we discovered this service member had firearms on base was when they used it to kill themselves.” That’s Craig Bryan, a clinical psychologist and professor at Ohio State University. He served on the committee, which delivered 127 recommendations. He says access to firearms is especially important. While just over half of all suicides in the U.S. involve guns, that number increases to about two-thirds among active duty military … and four-fifths among National Guard members. Bryan says many of those guns were bought at exchanges - on-base department stores that are popular with military shoppers because they're convenient and often less expensive Craig Bryan"We very quickly started learning that a significant percentage of service members who were dying by suicide on base were actually purchasing the firearms from that on-base military exchange.” Almost 100 military exchanges sell guns. Although the Navy stopped selling firearms in the 1980's, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps exchanges sold more than 84,000 last year. The committee wants the Defense Department to standardize gun rules at the exchanges - which vary now because the stores follow state laws. Members endorsed a minimum purchase age of 25. And they suggested waiting periods - seven-days for firearms, four-days for ammo following a gun purchase … because Bryan says many suicides are unplanned. “Amongst military personnel over half, close to 60 percent of service members who attempt suicide, have this rapid intensification where they they first think about suicide on the day that they try to kill themselves. Another key recommendation is that Congress repeal a 2011 law that prohibits the Pentagon from tracking private gun ownership among military personnel. But that could be a hard sell. Matt Sampson is a writer and Marine reservist who reviews tactical gear on his website, Nylon Theory. He says while the military should do more for service members at risk for suicide, a lot of them might have issues with turning over personal information. “There's distrust for enhancing, in any way, the amount of control that your command can exert over your personal life.” Sampson, speaking as a private citizen, not for the Marine Corps, says gun ownership in the military, like it is among some civilians in the U.S., is normal. “And it's not a bad thing at all. There's plenty of people who go and they shoot at the range with their friends recreationally, and it's a good bonding exercise.” A spokesperson for the Army and Air Force exchanges would not comment on firearm sales, only saying that all merchandise categories are continually reviewed andThe Marine Corps said it will implement any new policies the Pentagon adopts. Meanwhile, the Defense Department has announced a new working group to assess the committee's recommendations. A spokesperson for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in an email "we will exhaust every effort to promote the wellness, health, and morale of our Total Force" but did not say when to expect a decision on the recommendations. Tanya Mort, Anthony Muhlstadt's mother, says it can’t come soon enough. “I’m hoping that enough people make noise…”“And i want to see changes because i don't want Any other mom to go through (long pause) what i'm going through.” in San Diego, I’m Andrew Dyer.

TAG: This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, you can contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8, any time.


There were more calls yesterday for Supervisor Nathan Fletcher to immediately resign.

Fletcher’s resignation doesn’t go into effect until May 15th.

Supervisor Jim Desmond says the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Fletcher last week are proving to be distracting to county business.

“I think this is so egregious we need to get on. We gotta move on. Our meeting today is, you know, we have a lot of speakers that talking about his infractions and what he's been accused of, and it's really kind of slowing down the process of the county.”

Prior to the allegations surfacing, Fletcher announced he was going into treatment for alcohol abuse, P-T-S-D and childhood trauma.

Kate Monroe is with the advocacy group Vetcomm.

The group helps veterans file P-T-S-D claims.

She says Fletcher’s claim of P-T-S-D will have a negative impact on veterans.

“Anytime somebody tries to give the impression they're shirking their responsibility and trying to have a cloak of invisibility and use PTSD to wriggle out of something that is not going to bode well for the veteran community.”

She and other veterans are also calling for Fletcher’s immediate resignation.

Board of supervisors Chair Nora Vargas … has said the board will discuss Fletcher's replacement at its May 2nd meeting.

The options include appointing someone to fill the term, holding a special election or a combination of the two.


Are you struggling to pay current or past due water bills?

Reporter Katie Hyson looked into a program that has two-and-a-half million dollars in assistance waiting to be claimed.

Many times households will spend their money on all of their basic needs and requirements, like water, utilities, rent, Arnulfo Manriquez oversees the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program for the nonprofit MAAC. It offers a one-time payment of up to two-thousand dollars to help residents pay water and wastewater bills. Manriquez says helping with a water bill can stabilize a family's finances. and then they'll use a credit card for all the other, like, food, anywhere they can use a credit card at, and it begins to stretch a family. Manriquez says many people may not have heard about the program or realize they qualify. It just started this past year. We don't want to leave money on the table when there are people that absolutely need these funds right now. The assistance can also be used for reconnection and late fees. For more and to see if you qualify, visit our website: Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


Coming up.... A look at diversity in the local theater scene. We’ll have that story, just after the break.


Tomorrow, KPBS Midday Edition will be looking at how San Diego theater companies are addressing the challenge to diversify.

Arts reporter Beth Accomando previews the upcoming show.

Racism, erasure, lack of diversity – these are not new issues to American Theater, but Lamar Perry says there was a racial reckoning that happened in 2020 that has prompted a new urgency for change. Perry is a freelance director and an associate professor at UC San Diego’s Department of Theater. He says change is happening and there are ways to measure progress. LAMAR PERRY So when I see trans and non-binary folks of color occupying space, that traditionally means that other people who are not as marginalized as those folks also have access to that space…. So I think that's what the measurement looks like for me. That those who have traditionally been marginalized and shut out and the most vulnerable occupy space in leadership, in production, and also that everyone does. I'm not advocating for a singular group. I'm advocating for liberation for all. Theater director Daniel Jaquez says audiences can play a part in making change happen. DANIEL JAQUEZ It's kind of like politics, right? They want you to be a very engaged citizen and tell your voice, this is exactly what we need just to be engaged. Jaquez and Perry will partake in a longer discussion on diversity in the San Diego Theater community on Thursday on Midday Edition. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. In tomorrow’s podcast, how a nonprofit is helping domestic violence survivors through related legal issues. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

Ways To Subscribe
A committee appointed by the Pentagon to study military suicides wants to make it harder for troops to buy and access personal firearms. In other news, $2.5 million in assistance for water bills is waiting to be claimed. Plus, a look at the efforts to diversify San Diego theater companies.