Sunday, April 02, 2017

Universal Background Checks for Guns Lowers Suicide Rate


According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate in the United States is now at a 30-year high. Another way to look at this is that every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide. 

Nearly two-thirds of the 32,000 gun deaths in the United States are suicides, according to

the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control. Firearm suicides outnumber firearm homicides nearly two to one. Indeed, far more Americans die by turning a gun on themselves than at the hands of others.

In the United States, firearms, particularly handguns, are the most common means of suicide. About 85 percent of suicide attempts with a gun are fatal, whereas only 2 percent of overdoses, the most widely used method in suicide attempts, end in death. 


Despite strong empirical evidence that gun control reduces suicides, access to firearms in the United States is generally subject to few restrictions. However, a current April 2017 study published in the American Journal of Public Health is helping to kick nay-sayers for gun control to the curb - and save millions of lives. This long term study showed that handgun legislation yielded changes in statewide suicide rates. Specifically, data showed states with universal background checks had a decrease of 0.29 suicides per 100,000 people from 2013 to 2014 - nearly a 1/3 reduction in deaths by suicide using a firearm. 


Research shows the longer it takes a suicidal person to obtain a weapon, the more likely that individual will decide against dying by suicide. According to Dr. E Michael Lewiecki author of a paper on suicide and public policy, “If you have an impulse for suicide and you have easy access to a gun, you’re very likely to be successful at committing suicide. But if access to that means is not there, then the impulse may pass.”

Currently, only 18 states in the union require this simple and life-saving universal background check.  Learn more at the Law Center to Reduce Gun Violence. 

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