Guns and Suicide: An American Epidemic

September 10, 2018

Andrew Patrick
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Guns and Suicide: An American Epidemic

On World Suicide Prevention Day, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence draws attention to the link between firearms access and suicide.

Washington, DC (September 10, 2018) — Over the last year, numerous high-profile suicides ignited a national discussion about suicide prevention. Simultaneously, people across the nation rallied behind laws to address our gun violence epidemic. This World Suicide Prevention Day, we must recognize that these two problems are highly interrelated and commit to addressing their intersection: firearm suicide.

The link between suicide and guns is clear. Research has found that access to a gun in the home is a risk factor for suicide. Firearms account for about half of all American suicides and are the most lethal method, with nine out of ten firearm suicide attempts resulting in death. As suicide is usually impulsive, access to a gun often means the difference between life and death for someone in suicidal crisis.

We know there are strategies to prevent suicide, and they often begin with temporarily removing guns from a volatile situation. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence know that putting time and space between suicidal individuals and firearms can save lives. We have been instrumental in the passage and implementation of life-saving suicide prevention policies like the extreme risk law, which allows family members and/or law enforcement to petition a court to remove firearms access from an individual in crisis.

Any legitimate discussion of suicide prevention must address the issue of guns, and any serious discussion of gun violence must include firearm suicide. Today and every day, we must remember that firearm suicide is preventable. But only if we take action.


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