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Everytown for Gun Safety Releases New Report Linking Firearm Access to Risk of Suicide

The Report, “Disrupting Access: Addressing Firearm Suicide in the U.S.,” Elevates Research that Demonstrates How Access to Firearms Increases Risk of Suicide and Examines Solutions to Reduce Firearm Suicides

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, today released Disrupting Access: Addressing Firearm Suicide in the U.S., a report illustrating how addressing firearm suicide is an essential element of any strategy to reduce suicide and gun violence in the United States. The report analyzes firearm access, firearm suicide data and presents policies and practices focused on disrupting access that have been shown to reduce firearm suicide rates, such as Red Flag Laws and responsible firearm storage. Firearm suicides account for two-thirds of all gun deaths and half of all suicide deaths in the United States.

“The data are clear that sensible policies that disrupt access to firearms – in particular to those at risk of harming themselves – can save lives,” said Sarah Tofte, Everytown’s research director. “Given that firearm suicides account for the majority of gun deaths and half of all suicides in this country, it is essential that policymakers adopt evidence-based measures to mitigate the risks access can pose.”

The full report is available here and includes toplines such as:

  • Access to firearms increases the risk of death by suicide by three times.
  • The U.S. firearm suicide rate has increased by 19 percent over the past decade, with a 61 percent increase among children and teenagers.
  • Among commonly used methods of self-harm, firearms are by far the most lethal – approximately 85 percent of firearm suicide attempts result in death. Conversely, less than 5 percent of people who attempt suicide using other methods will die, and the vast majority of all those who survive do not go on to die by suicide.
  • While firearms are used in less than six percent of suicide attempts, over half of suicide deaths are with firearms.
  • Men represent 86 percent of firearm suicide victims and are more than six times more likely than women to die by firearm suicide.
  • White Americans make up 87 percent of firearm suicide victims and have the highest rate of firearm suicide by race.
  • The average firearm suicide rate increases as counties become more rural.

“Scott was an incredible father to our two daughters, but he also struggled with depression,” said Jennifer Lugar, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose husband died by gun suicide. “At his lowest point, a gun was readily available and he used it to end his life. Policies that prevent access in moments of crisis can save lives and should be implemented immediately.”

To produce Disrupting Access: Addressing Firearm Suicide in the U.S., Everytown examined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading gun violence researchers and other sources to provide insight into the scope of firearm suicides in the U.S. and the link between firearm access and suicides.