Household firearm ownership and rates of suicide across the 50 United States.

  title={Household firearm ownership and rates of suicide across the 50 United States.},
  author={Matthew Miller and Steven J. Lippmann and Deborah Azrael and David Hemenway},
  journal={The Journal of trauma},
  volume={62 4},
          1029-34; discussion 1034-5
BACKGROUND The current investigation explores the association between rates of household firearm ownership and suicide across the 50 states. Prior ecologic research on the relationship between firearm prevalence and suicide has been criticized for using problematic proxy-based, rather than survey-based, estimates of firearm prevalence and for failing to control for potential psychological risk factors for suicide. We address these two criticisms by using recently available state-level survey… 

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A strong relationship between state-level firearm ownership and firearm suicide rates among both genders is found, and a relationship between firearms ownership and suicides by any means among male, but not female, individuals is found.

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Examination of firearm storage practices and the strictness of firearm regulation at the state level in the United States found that household firearm ownership was strongly associated with both suicide by all mechanisms, and firearm suicide.



Household Firearm Ownership and Suicide Rates in the United States

In both regional and state-level analyses, a robust association exists between levels of household firearm ownership and suicide rates and where firearm ownership levels are higher, a disproportionately large number of people die from suicide.

Association of rates of household handgun ownership, lifetime major depression, and serious suicidal thoughts with rates of suicide across US census regions

  • D. HemenwayM. Miller
  • Psychology
    Injury prevention : journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention
  • 2002
In United States regions with higher levels of household handgun ownership, there are higher suicide rates, and this relationship cannot be explained by differences in the prevalence of two mental health indicators—lifetime rates of either major depression or suicidal thoughts.

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The elevated rates of violent death in states with more guns was not entirely explained by a state’s poverty or urbanization and was driven primarily by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal nonfirearm violence.

Firearms and suicide in the northeast.

Firearm prevalence was positively related to the suicide rate, even after controlling for rates of attempted suicide, and could not be accounted for by differences in method-specific case fatality rates.

Suicide and firearm prevalence: are youth disproportionately affected?

Examination of the relationship between suicide rates and household firearm ownership for four age groups in the nine census regions from 1979 to 1994 suggested that if the relationship is causal, a 10% fall in regional firearm ownership levels would lead to a 3.0% decrease in suicide rates.

Firearm availability and unintentional firearm deaths, suicide, and homicide among 5-14 year olds.

A disproportionately high number of 5-14 year olds died from suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm deaths in states and regions where guns were more prevalent.

Access to firearms and risk for suicide in middle-aged and older adults.

Among subjects who kept a gun in the home, storing the weapon loaded and unlocked were independent predictors of suicide, and support the potential benefit for suicide prevention of restricting access to handguns.

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  • Psychology
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  • 1993
The correlations detected in this study suggest that the presence of a gun in the home increases the likelihood of homicide or suicide.