Firearms and Suicide Risk
- Suicide is defined as "death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with an intent to die as a result of the behavior".
- Suicide is the overall tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death for young Americans (aged 10-39).
- Firearms accounted for approximately one-half (24,292; 53%) of suicides in 2020.
- Completed suicides are predominantly male (78%); suicide rates are over 3.5 times higher in males than females.
- Males are roughly 4x more likely than females to die by suicide, although females attempt suicide 3x as often.
- This discrepancy is usually credited to the male preference for more fatal methods of suicide attempt, chiefly firearms; in 2009, there was a 90.9% case fatality in men vs. 70% in women for firearm-related suicides.
- The U.S. has the highest rate of firearm ownership per capita globally. It is estimated that one out of every three U.S. households contains a firearm. Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides.
- Firearms are not only the most common method of suicide but also the most lethal, with an 85% fatality rate. See Graph
- Gun ownership is tightly positively correlated with the suicide rate.
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