Helena M. Michigan

Suicide and Gun Control

Suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States. 85 percent of suicides attempted by gun are fatal - so why aren't we doing more about it?

Dear Ms. or Mr. President,

Out of the yearly 42,773 suicides in the United States, about 21,334 of these are carried out with a gun. Suicide is overall the tenth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Suicides attempted by gun are 85 percent likely to be fatal, as compared to overdoses which are fatal only about 12 percent of the time. Reducing the amount of guns that civilians have access to could drastically reduce suicide rates.

Many suicide attempters are young. Studies by the National Institute for Health found that 82 percent of teenagers who committed suicide by gun used a firearm that belonged to a relative in their home. Access to firearms is associated with much higher suicide rates for teens and adults alike. With guns owned in so many households across the U.S, the very least we can do is make sure they are stored safely and out of the hands of children; however, only four states have laws requiring gun owners to store their guns with a locking device. Laws like this are a step in the right direction, so why aren't more states taking the initiative?

Suicide is often an impulsive move. About 90 percent of people who survive suicide attempts don’t go on to kill themselves. As guns are the most lethal means of suicide, the availability of a gun to a suicidal person could be the difference between life and death. With tighter gun control we can make sure that guns don't end up in the hands of people contemplating suicide. This can be achieved through making sure people safely store their weapon, expanding required waiting periods when purchasing a firearm - more time to think will likely cause someone to reconsider - and perhaps one day banning civilian access to handguns altogether.

Gun control is extremely important in reducing not only mass shootings, murders, and accidental deaths, but the amount of suicides as well. Many amazing people would continue to live, love, and realize that, in a time of despair, they could have ended their life with the simple pull of a trigger. Please consider how large a role the access to firearms plays in suicides when you are deciding on gun control policies.


Helena M.