Gun control critics have spent so much time focusing on mass shootings that people seem to have forgotten the primary cause of gun deaths: suicide.
An article in The New York Times highlights many of the horribly depressing gun suicide statistics and reveals that states with the highest suicide rates also have the highest gun ownership rates. These are Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska, the Harvard Injury Control Research centre found.
“The literature suggests that having a gun in your home to protect your family is like bringing a time bomb into your house,” Dr. Mark Rosenberg, an epidemiologist who helped start the CDC’s National centre for Injury Prevention and Control, told the Times.
Close to two-thirds of the 30,000 gun deaths in the U.S. in 2010 were suicides, according to the CDC, and the national suicide rate has risen 12 per cent since 2003.
Also, gun suicides are much more likely to be fatal than other forms of suicide, with 85 per cent of them leading to fatalities, versus only 2 per cent of suicide attempts with pills, according to the Harvard study.
However, some state health departments are trying to reduce gun deaths by giving out gun locks, the Times reports.
In New Hampshire and Vermont, gun shops are trying to prevent guns from getting into the hands of suicidal people by handing out fliers and putting up posters about the warning signs for suicide, Vermont Public Radio reports.
This map shows states with the highest suicide rates:
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