CDC Releases Sobering Report on Gun Suicide


The Centers for Disease Control released what is called their Morbidity and Mortality report on Firearm Homicides and Suicides in Major Metropolitan Areas, comparing data from 2012-13 with data from 2015-16. The overall summary shows that - especially when it comes to gun suicide, things are moving in the wrong direction:

During [2015-16], suicide was the 10th leading cause of death nationally among all persons aged ≥10 years and the second leading cause among youths; a firearm injury was the underlying cause of death in 50% of all suicides and in 42% of youth suicides. Previously observed increases in firearm suicide rates among persons of all ages continued in recent years, both nationally and in large MSAs [Metropolitan Statistical Areas] collectively; youth firearm suicide rates also increased both nationally and in large MSAs overall. In contrast to firearm homicide rates, firearm suicide rates among persons of all ages and among youths in the large MSAs overall have both remained lower than corresponding national rates. This is consistent with previous research showing that rates of suicide, considering all causes, have been persistently lower in more urban areas than in less urban areas.

The study specifically identifies “access to firearms by persons at risk for harming themselves and others” as a likely cause of these numbers, and an entire paragraph of the report reads like a plea for gun regulation:

Reducing access to lethal means during an acute suicidal crisis by safely storing firearms or temporarily removing them from the home can help reduce suicide risk, particularly among youths. Preventing persons convicted of or under a restraining order for domestic violence from possessing a firearm has been associated with reductions in intimate partner-related homicide, including firearm homicide. Efforts to strengthen the background check system to better identify persons convicted of violent crimes or at risk for harming themselves or others might also prevent lethal firearm violence, although these policies need further study.