More than half of all firearm-related fatalities in the United States are suicide. Dealing with suicide would naturally reduce that total significantly to say nothing of saving countless lives.
However, far too many people look at suicide as a gun issue, rather than a mental health issue.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it brings unwelcome news regarding the relationship between guns and suicide. The first-ever city-level analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on firearm deaths found that the rate of gun suicides increased 11 percent between 2014 and 2020.
Firearm homicide rates also increased over the period, by 18 percent. Mass shootings in 2022 have understandably provoked outrage, but more than half of all gun deaths in the U.S. are the result of suicide.
Suicide itself is a greater factor in premature death that may be commonly understood. According to the CDC, in 2020 it was the second leading cause of death (after unintentional injury) for Americans ages 10-14 and 25-34. Among those 15-24 it was third (just behind homicide) and for those 35-44 it was fourth.
The city-level findings are outlined in the report Gun Suicide in Cities, a collaboration between the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety and New York University Langone Health. The firearm death data has been incorporated into a City Health Dashboard from Langone Health that includes more than 40 measures of health and health equity.
However, the problem with tying gun-related suicides to gun laws is that it dismisses countless other factors that contribute to the situation. This is really nothing but correlation, but it fails to account for literally any other potential factors that might contribute to suicides. Nothing about economics, crime, or a host of other issues that might play a factor in or the other of these situations.
Of course, when you cite a study from Everytown for Gun Safety without acknowledging that despite saying they advocate for “gun safety,” they’re really a gun control group, you have to question everything else.
You see, the idea that gun control somehow prevents suicides is, frankly, laughable.
Oh, I get the claim that red flag laws can do just that, and I get the argument that firearms are far more effective in suicide attempts than most other methods, but that’s only part of the discussion. For one thing, red flag laws also mean some will, in time, become less likely to talk about their own struggles out of fear of their guns being taken away.
It also ignores that while guns are highly effective for taking one’s own life, it’s not the only highly effective method out there. There are others that are pretty close, but those get ignored when we start talking about gun control and suicide.
That’s because groups like Everytown don’t care about suicides. They don’t care about those who suffer from severe depression and may potentially be suicidal. What they care about is scoring political points and using those suffering as a prop with which to do so.
And, frankly, it’s disgusting.
Then again, these are people who use the bodies of murder victims as soapboxes to push a failed narrative, so what can you really expect out of them?