guns and suicide

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Socialist Worker's Emma Wilde Botta provides some number on guns and the suicide epidemic, noting that "35,000 people are killed by guns every year in the U.S.:"

According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2017, there were 346 mass shootings (broadly defined as a shooting in which four or more people were shot but did not necessarily die) and 437 resulting deaths. In 2017, police killed an estimated 1,100 people.

Gun homicides account for nearly 13,000 deaths annually. More than two in three gun deaths per year are the result of suicide.

"In 2015, an estimated 44,193 people died by suicide in the U.S.," Botta continues, "with 22,018 of these deaths involving a gun. That's an average of 121 deaths by suicide every day:"

Suicidal acts are often prompted by a temporary rush of rage or despair, and most people who attempt them do not die. For every suicide, there are about 25 attempts that do not end in death.

Guns are especially dangerous because they are more lethal than other means by which people attempt suicide, and because people often attempt to take their own lives shortly after deciding to die.

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 gun end in death. Among people who survived attempts, 24 percent took less than five minutes between the making the decision to die and the actual attempt, and 70 percent took less than an hour. Most people who are feeling suicidal will not choose another method if their preferred method is not at hand.

Botta cites a 2006 National Center for Health Statistics study in 2016, which looked at suicide trends between 1999 and 2014. "The study showed that overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent in these 15 years," she writes, "putting suicide rates at their highest in nearly 30 years:"

Indisputably, access to guns increases suicide risk by making it more likely that suicide attempts will involve guns and prove fatal. Serious attempts to slow down or prevent access to deadly means can keep people in crisis alive.

"National standards around gun safety training and safe storage, free lock boxes and waiting periods," she reminds us, "are all possible restriction measures:"

Keeping a gun locked and unloaded, and storing a gun separate from ammunition can reduce the likelihood of a suicide attempt by children and teens, and adults as well. Gun waiting periods that mandate time between initiating the purchase of a gun and completing that purchase have also been shown to reduce suicide.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 16, 2018 7:34 AM.

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