According to the American Foundation for Suicide Preventon, the U.S. suicide rate is 13 per 100,000—a 30-year high and a very serious health issue. What’s going on?
GUNS AND SUICIDE
THE BIG PICTURE
On average, 58 people kill themselves with a gun every day. Two-thirds of all gun deaths in the U.S. come from suicide. Although three times as many women as men attempt suicide, 80% of all suicide deaths are of men. The reason for this strange disparity is simple: Women are more likely to try to kill themselves by suffocation (e.g. hanging) or poisoning, while men prefer guns—and guns are a whole lot more effective.
7 REVEALING FACTS
1. Guns are not the most common means of attempting suicide, but they cause more deaths than all other methods combined. That’s because suicide attempted with a gun is effective 82.5% of the time.
2. According to a recent study, with the highest gun ownership rates have the highest suicide rate.
3. Suicide is the leading cause of death among military veterans. Guns account for 68% of their suicides.
4. Studies that focus specifically on the presence of guns in a home also show a correlation with higher suicide rates.
5. States that have laws requiring gun owners to store their firearms with a locking device are associated with 68% fewer gun suicides than states without such laws.
6. Research on states that have waiting periods for gun purchases showed they had 51% fewer gun suicides per capita compared to states without waiting periods.
7. 90% of suicides had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. We mention this because on February 2, 2017, Congress voted to overturn the law restricting gun sales to severely mentally ill patients.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
• thetrace.org - Basis for article
• afsp.org - U.S. Suicide facts 2016
• cdc.org - Suicide data: 1999 - 2014
• nytimes.com - Suicide data for women and men, ages 45 to 64
• afsp.com - 2015 suicide rates by age and ethnicity
• nytimes.com - One gun store’s program to reduce suicides
• asknelly.com - Gun violence as health issue