Surprising fact: Half of gun deaths are suicides

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Surprising fact: Half of gun deaths are suicides

    By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer

    ATLANTA - The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gun ownership last week focused on citizens' ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. But research shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves.

    Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation's nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    There was nothing unique about that year — gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the last 25 years. In 2005, homicides accounted for 40 percent of gun deaths. Accidents accounted for 3 percent. The remaining 2 percent included legal killings, such as when police do the shooting, and cases that involve undetermined intent.

    Public-health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater.

    Studies have also shown that homes in which a suicide occurred were three to five times more likely to have a gun present than households that did not experience a suicide, even after accounting for other risk factors.

    In a 5-4 decision, the high court on Thursday struck down a handgun ban enacted in the District of Columbia in 1976 and rejected requirements that firearms have trigger locks or be kept disassembled. The ruling left intact the district's licensing restrictions for gun owners.

    One public-health study found that suicide and homicide rates in the district dropped after the ban was adopted. The district has allowed shotguns and rifles to be kept in homes if they are registered, kept unloaded and taken apart or equipped with trigger locks.

    The American Public Health Association, the American Association of Suicidology and two other groups filed a legal brief supporting the district's ban. The brief challenged arguments that if a gun is not available, suicidal people will just kill themselves using other means.

    More than 90 percent of suicide attempts using guns are successful, while the success rate for jumping from high places was 34 percent. The success rate for drug overdose was 2 percent, the brief said, citing studies.

    "Other methods are not as lethal," said Jon Vernick, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore.

    The high court's majority opinion made no mention of suicide. But in a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer used the word 14 times in voicing concern about the impact of striking down the handgun ban.

    "If a resident has a handgun in the home that he can use for self-defense, then he has a handgun in the home that he can use to commit suicide or engage in acts of domestic violence," Breyer wrote.

    Researchers in other fields have raised questions about the public-health findings on guns.

    Gary Kleck, a researcher at Florida State University's College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, estimates there are more than 1 million incidents each year in which firearms are used to prevent an actual or threatened criminal attack.

    Public-health experts have said the telephone survey methodology Kleck used likely resulted in an overestimate.

    Both sides agree there has been a significant decline in the last decade in public-health research into gun violence.
    The CDC traditionally was a primary funder of research on guns and gun-related injuries, allocating more than $2.1 million a year to such projects in the mid-1990s.

    But the agency cut back research on the subject after Congress in 1996 ordered that none of the CDC's appropriations be used to promote gun control.

    Vernick said the Supreme Court decision underscores the need for further study into what will happen to suicide and homicide rates in the district when the handgun ban is lifted.

    Today, the CDC budgets less than $900,000 for firearm-related projects, and most of it is spent to track statistics. The agency no longer funds gun-related policy analysis.
  2. toemag

    toemag Monkey++

    A gun makes suicide really easy, here in €urope where the weapons laws are more stringent we have more suicide by medication, then throwing ones self in front of a speeding train or driving the car into something at mach 5, or even the exhaust gases of a vehicle.

    People who wish to kill themselves will always find a way, with or without a gun.

  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    The suicide gene would appear to be self extinguishing. What is the greater societal benefit, suicide prevention or letting the gene off itself?

    Looking at it from another angle, if the success rate for gun assisted suicides is higher than any other means, then it makes perfect sense to allow it to continue. There are no residual monetary costs such as physical (invalid) or mental health care to be borne by the public or family in the event of a failed attempt.
  4. CBMS

    CBMS Looking for a safe place

    And If a resident has a hockey stick at home, They are more likely to play hockey.

    If a resident has a car at home, they become a MUCH higher risk to those around them on the road.
    So we should ban anything that could be safe and live in a bubble wrapped society.
  5. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Justice Breyer, exactly what does that have to do with an interpretation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution? What may happen is irrelevant, it is a right guarranteed by the founding fathers. The Second Amendment states the right clearly. Case closed.
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