New Report: "The Truth About Suicide and Guns"

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

For Immediate Release: September 8, 2015

Contact: Brendan Kelly, bkelly [at] bradymail [dot] org

Phone: 202-370-8131

NEW REPORT: “The Truth About Suicide and Guns”

Nearly 20,000 people a year die from gun suicide in America

A gun in the home increases the risk of suicide by three times

82% of teen firearm suicides involve a family member’s gun

A gun in the home makes a suicide three times more likely according, to a 28-page report released today by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The Truth About Suicide and Guns finds that while gun ownership alone presents the greatest risk, when combined with the impulsive nature of suicide and the effectiveness of a gun, the combination is deadly. In fact, 71% of people who attempt suicide do so within an hour after making the decision. Further, death results 91% of the time when a gun is used because injuries are instantaneous and leave little time for medical intervention or for the victim to reconsider their decision.

“A gun in the home makes it too easy for someone to find a permanent and tragic solution to a temporary feeling. This report is not about the right to bear arms; it’s about arming people with facts,” said Brady Center President Dan Gross. “The facts are clear -- there is one, surefire way to drastically reduce the number of Americans who die from suicide each year and, simultaneously, make American homes safer: Keep guns out of the home or store them safely.”

Among the report’s highlights:

  • Suicide deaths are up 41% since 1999
  • 2/3 of gun deaths are by suicide
  • On average, guns account for 19,992 suicides every year
  • The states with the five highest rates of gun suicides have gun ownership rates 37% or more higher than the national average

Farid Naib, who talks about his thirteen-year-old son’s suicide in the video “Cayman’s Story,” says, “I want to try to get the message out that you’re at risk – talk to your kids about suicide. I don’t think there’s an hour that I don’t think about Cayman and his death…This heartache is unbearable and if I had not had a gun in the house, I would not be experiencing this.”

Gross commended Naib for sharing his story and called for action, “By talking about Cayman’s death, Farid is doing exactly what we need to do to prevent suicide, especially among teenagers. Americans don’t talk about suicide, but with thousands of people dying every year, half of them from guns, we can’t afford to stay silent. Only by sharing the facts can we dispel the notion that a gun in the home makes you safer. When it comes to silence on firearm suicide, the only winner is the corporate gun lobby.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.

###

The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.