Guns & Suicide: The Hidden Toll

Far more people kill themselves with a firearm each year than are murdered with one. In 2010 in the U.S., 19,392 people committed suicide with guns, compared with 11,078 who were killed by others. Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S.; in 2010, 38,364 people killed themselves. In more than half of these cases, they used firearms.

Access-to-guns-and-risk-of-suicide-chartIndeed, more people in this country kill themselves with guns than with all other intentional means combined, including hanging, poisoning or overdose, jumping, or cutting. Though guns are not the most common method by which people attempt suicide, they are the most lethal. About 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm end in death.

Rates of firearm suicides in states with the highest rates of gun ownership are 3.7 times higher for men and 7.9 times higher for women, compared with states with the lowest gun ownership—though the rates of non-firearm suicides are about the same.

“Cut it however you want: In places where exposure to guns is higher, more people die of suicide.”

When widely used lethal means are made less available or less deadly, suicide rates by that method decline, as do suicide rates overall.

It’s important that gun owners and non-gun-owners talk to one another. The question can’t be, “What do you think of gun control?” because everybody’s going to be for or against. The question needs to be, “How do we solve the problem of gun suicide?”

via Guns & Suicide: The Hidden Toll | Magazine Features | Harvard School of Public Health Magazine Features.

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Guns & Suicide: The Hidden Toll

Comments are closed.