New report on Suicide Prevention Day explores dangers and realities of guns and suicide If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255
Washington, D.C., September 10, 2018 – Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, a new report released by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence shows that 63 people die by suicide with a gun every day. The report explores the link between suicides and guns, which communities are most impacted, and what policies could be put in place to prevent the epidemic.
“The sad truth is that you cannot talk about the epidemic of gun violence in this country without talking about suicide,” stated Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Center. “Firearm suicides have gone up nearly every year since 2006, but we are anything but helpless to stop this crisis. By taking steps to strengthen our gun safety laws, we can prevent these needless deaths due to an impulsive decision combined with easy access to a firearm.”
The report finds a number of alarming trends related to guns and suicide, including:
- In 2016, the nearly 23,000 suicides by gun accounted for about twice as many deaths from suicide by suffocation, three times by poisoning, and twenty times more than intentional falls.
- Attempted suicide by gun results in death 85 percent of the time, compared to just 3 percent for other methods.
- White men make up 85 percent of suicide by gun victims, and men over 40 make up about two-thirds of suicide victims.
- About 20 veterans die by suicide in the U.S. every day; approximately two-thirds of them use a gun.
- More than two children and teens a day shoot and kill themselves, half of whom are under the age of 16.
“Suicides make up such a disproportionate number of shootings in this country, but the issue doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves,” stated Brady Center co-president Avery Gardiner. “Most people who kill themselves with a gun do so very quickly after deciding to end their lives. But when we can intervene in that critical time, we can stop the suicide attempt. Every suicide victim is someone’s brother, cousin, co-worker, or neighbor, and we can to band together to save lives.”
The report also prescribes several policy solutions to prevent the gun suicide epidemic, including:
- Implementing waiting periods between purchase and transfer of a gun;
- Passing extreme risk laws to enable the loved ones of someone in crisis to have guns temporarily removed; and
- Entering mental health records into the state and federal background check system to ensure that those at risk of harming themselves do not have ready access to a gun.
The report and other materials on how to reduce gun violence can be found at bradycampaign.org.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.