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The Truth About Suicide and Guns

This Report Was Updated in 2021.

America’s deadliest shootings are those we rarely discuss: Over half of all gun deaths are suicides. On average, 64 people die of gun suicide each day in America — more than firearm murders and unintentional shootings combined. Firearms are by far the most lethal method of suicide. Amid the backdrop of COVID-19 and record-breaking gun sales, unsecured firearms in gun-owning households risk an increase in suicide.

This report analyzes the relationship between firearms and suicide to provide tangible solutions for policymakers, community organizers, and more to prevent gun suicide and save lives by focusing on:

Key Facts About Guns and Suicide

  • There were 1.4 million suicide attempts in 2019, making suicide one of the most pressing public health crises in America.

  • The compounding of COVID and non-COVID stressors alongside record-breaking gun sales poses a heightened risk of gun suicide for gun-owning households where firearms are not securely stored.

  • Firearms account for just 5% of American suicide attempts, but more than half of all suicide deaths.

  • Since 2006, the firearm suicide rate for minors identified as boys and young men has increased by approximately 60%. Similarly, minors identified as girls and young women are now more than twice as likely to die by suicide than they were 15 years ago.

  • There is an average of 17.2 veteran suicide deaths per day, 12 of which include a firearm.

  • Of those who survive and receive care post-suicide attempt, 70% will live without attempting again.

These facts are sobering, but by strengthening existing mechanisms like waiting periods and extreme risk laws, focusing on safe storage practices, and normalizing conversations about gun safety, a countless number of firearm suicide attempts can be avoided — and countless lives can be saved.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health Resources

People impacted by gun violence can experience ongoing trauma, including a high risk of suicide. These resources identify ways to support those in need.

End Family Fire

Family fire is a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun in the home that results in death or injury. By safely securing our firearms, we can save lives.

Veterans For Gun Reform

Veterans for Gun Reform unites veterans in support of common-sense measures to reduce gun violence, including firearm suicide.

"Red, Blue, and Brady"

Listen to our podcast episodes about firearm suicide in America.


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