No, Guns Have Nothing To Do With Suicides

Published under creative commons.

Gun grabbers will try anything to justify their determination to ignore our God-given right to keep and bear arms. One of the more idiotic tactics they employ is to count the number of suicides committed with a firearm as data regarding the innate danger presented by a relatively simple tool.


Recently, a study out of Maryland purported to show just how dangerous guns were with regard to suicide. Unfortunately, as Dean Weingarten at Gun Watch notes, they kind of shoot themselves in the foot (pun fully intended):

Their studies about suicides “caused” by firearms ownership, tend to be junk science. Consider a recent “study” published only with the American Public Health Association. It was done about suicides in Maryland. Maryland is densely populated, and has extremely strict gun control.  Only 3.5% of the suicides were in rural areas. The numbers are likely correct, but the interpretation leaves much to be desired. From

In particular, doctors need to pay close attention to gun use and mental health for men, the study results suggest.

That’s because 89 percent of the gun-related suicides occurred among men, and because the higher rural suicide rate was only true for men.

Firearm suicide rates were 36 percent higher for rural men than urban men. But rural women were 37 percent less likely to commit suicide than urban women, regardless of the method.

The author of the study draws this mind numbing conclusion, directly in contradiction to the evidence just cited:

 “Access to guns in the home creates a higher risk of suicide for family members whether or not there are known mental health concerns,” Nelson said. “Secure gun storage – locked, preferably in a storage cabinet, and unloaded with ammunition locked up separately – should be routine in gun-owning homes.”

And how is locking up guns and ammunition supposed to prevent suicides, especially by men who preferentially own guns? Another conclusion, likely as valid, is that rural areas with guns prevent women from committing suicide, as the rate of women committing suicide is almost exactly as reduced as the rate of men is increased, in rural areas.

Overall suicide rates in the United States have risen from 11.08 in 1997 to 12.93 in 2014. The number of guns per capita has risen from .97 to 1.21 in the same period. But the percentage of suicides committed with guns decreased from 60% to 49%.

In Australia, as suicides with guns have dropped, suicides with other methods have risen, just as expected. Suicide rates are not dependent on the availability of a particular method. In a modern society, many methods are commonly available.

In Australia, the most common method is strangulation/hanging, with suffocation close behind. Suffocation commonly involves a plastic bag.


Perhaps Austalia should look into plastic bag control?

No, think about it. They could have a plastic bag buyback program and an amnesty period for people to turn in their plastic bags.

Yeah, I think we’re on to something here…

…or we could just recognize that you’ll never stop someone who wants to commit suicide. If we’re going to outlaw things that can be used for suicide, then we need to ban medicine, cars, rope, razor blades, and gravity.

Good luck on enforcing that last one especially.

If you want to combat suicide, then you need to approach it as a public health issue, not a gun issue. It’s not and it never will be.

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