A recent Washington Post article tackles the issue of why limiting gun access may cut the suicide rate by over a third. Disturbingly, more and more Americans are killing themselves, and the fast-rising suicide rate is in sharp contrast to most other developed countries where suicide rates have been declining over the past decade.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42,773 Americans killed themselves in 2014; half of that number did so with guns. It is difficult to separate out the role of guns in facilitating suicides due to the other psychological and cultural factors that also play a role. However, research does show that the longer it takes someone to obtain a weapon, the more likely they are to decide against killing themselves; or, if they do make a suicide attempt during a wait period, they are prone to choose a less lethal method. The wide availability of guns in America has an impact on suicide rates because guns are more lethal than any other suicide method. Per the Post article, experts contend that if you reduce a suicidal person’s access to firearms, it’s likely to save their life, even if they attempts suicide with a different method. The article is a worthwhile read and explores the spiking suicide rate in the United States, gun access, and how government policy fits in.