Magazine article The Nation's Health

Brady Campaign: Guns Linked to Increase in Suicide Likelihood

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Brady Campaign: Guns Linked to Increase in Suicide Likelihood

Article excerpt

A new report about suicide and guns highlights the life or death importance of limiting easy access to guns.

On Sept. 10, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence released "The Truth About Suicide and Guns," a report about the link between guns and suicide. The report shows that there are about 20,000 gun suicides each year in the U.S., making up more than half of all suicides and two-thirds of all gun deaths annually. According to the report, 85 percent to 91 percent of firearm suicide attempts are fatal.

Gun suicide rates increased by more than 13 percent from 2007 to 2013, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24, the report said.

The presence of a gun in a home is a risk factor for suicide, making it three times more likely a suicide will occur in a home, according to the report. Limiting gun access in a home can be crucial, considering impulsivity: 71 percent of suicides are attempted by people within an hour of making the decision to end their life.

"Most people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide, but only one in 10 people who attempt suicide by gun get that second chance," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center and Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in the report's foreword. "Limiting easy access to a gun for someone who considers or even attempts suicide can literally be the difference between life and death."

The report's statistics show that more than depression or substance abuse, the presence of a gun in a home is the strongest predictor of a suicide there. …

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