Do Guns Cause Adolescents to Commit Suicide?

By Robert B. Young, MD. February 3rd, 2019

Short answer: No.

But you wouldn't know that from the breathless media coverage of a recent study from the Boston University and Harvard's T.C. Chan's Schools of Public Health. "Household Gun Ownership and Youth Suicide Rates at the State Level, 2005-2015" was published online by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine January 17.

Suicide is a complex problem. There are bound to be more firearms suicides in households that don't lock up their guns. But this does not mean firearms cause suicide any more than vehicles cause single-car crashes (a category that probably includes significant numbers of unprovable suicides). And there are more drowning deaths in unmonitored bodies of water than when lifeguards are present.

However--and this is the big one--there is no evidence yet that controlling the availability of firearms is at all associated with changes in overall suicide rates. .......

"Blame the gun" is the common cry, when in fact anyone seriously wishing to end their life has a great many options. Obviously lax storage of firearms is bound to be a predisposing factor making access too easy, but that aside, perhaps among the most utilized methods we can include hanging and pharmaceutical overdose. Any suicide is without doubt a huge tragedy but actual facts seem not to support firearms as being a major factor, despite media attempts to show otherwise - another ploy to help towards more 'gun control'.


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