December 16, 2018
Suicide and Guns

Suicide and Guns

by Peter Jaret  

About half of all suicides involve firearms, making guns by far the most common method people use to end their lives in the United States. In 2015, more than 22,000 Americans intentionally killed themselves using a firearm.

Can sensible gun control laws help prevent gun-related suicides? To find out, researchers examined firearm-related deaths in the United States from January 2010 to December 2014. They found that strong firearm laws in a state were related to significantly lower firearm suicides and a lower overall rate of suicide.

Some states have passed laws that allow police officers to seize guns from people they deem dangerous, including those who are suicidal. In Indiana, which passed such a law more than 10 years ago, researchers tracked a 7.5 percent drop from the expected rate of firearm suicides, according to a study published in Psychiatric Services.

This article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.