Impact of Weapon Availability on Suicide Rates
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Impact of Weapon Availability on Suicide Rates

The tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School has reignited the never fully doused flame of the gun control debate. While both sides in the debate have solid arguments backing up their attitude regarding the subject, actual progress in the debate is not something that can often be seen. As the disagreement on the issue has been raging for quite a while now, after some time you will have heard all the things that someone has to say in favor of or against stricter gun control laws.

The list of the arguments would probably look familiar to you, and it sometimes seems that while being involved in the old, never solved disputes, people have stopped finding new data and approaches, and are instead just rehashing the old adages which aren’t really helping anyone. That’s why a new approach in the matter is always welcome, and even though it might make us look some unpleasant truths in the eye, it is those truths which might eventually bring us closer to the resolution of the issue.

Impact of Weapon Availability on Suicide Rates
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One of such truths is the correlation between the number of suicides and gun availability. While this is not a completely new idea and has been explored previously, it hasn’t really been addressed with the gravity and thoroughness that it definitely deserves. Even though a number of studies have been conducted, their results are not consistently conclusive, but they are definitely pointing to some trends.

One of the things that the majority of studies have determined is that gun availability does in fact affect the rate of suicides, and this has been confirmed in all states. As strange as it sounds, people on the verge of making this decision will often give up on the idea if they are given enough time to reconsider. They might also be diverted from it by the fact that they don’t have an “easy” way to end their life. Ultimately this is to say that a lot of people who have committed suicide with a gun might still be alive today if they didn’t have access to a weapon. The results are much more obvious with younger people, while it is not certain how many adults will be influenced by availability of a weapon. It also seems that handguns might be more dangerous than rifles, and unsurprisingly, that the weapons which are kept locked away pose less of a risk than those that aren’t.

April 22, 2013
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