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Of the most commonly used methods of self-harm, firearms are by far the most lethal, with a fatality rate of approximately 85 percent. 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. Given the unique lethality of firearms as a means of suicide, policies and practices that limit or disrupt access to firearms have been shown to save lives. Read the full report.


  • Guns and Suicide
    Access to a gun during a period of personal crisis is often the difference between life and death. Hear the stories of those impacted by suicide and guns.
  • Khary
    Khary chose to be photographed at the shore of Lake Michigan as he feels it represents the vastness of the loss of his mother, who took her life with a gun when he was just a baby.
  • Alexandria
    Alexandria’s brother Mikey used an unsecured gun at their father’s house to take his life. He was 13 and, as Alexandria says, “impulsive… and he didn’t have enough experience to know that life gets better.”
  • Lindsey & Patrick
    Although a fellow soldier of Patrick’s died by gun suicide, the training that the Army provided did help him identify and save two others from taking their lives. Lindsay recalls that, when she was in the military 16 years ago, it was unheard of to ask for help.
  • Lisa
    Diane's granddaughter Lisa (name changed) still reels from her mother’s suicide with a gun. Lisa still wrestles with the very real impact it has had on her day-to-day life.
  • Diane
    Diane's daughter struggled with mental illness for much of her life - until she ultimately shot and killed herself 26 years to the day that her father killed himself. Diane says, “the medicine Angela took to save her life was far more regulated than the gun she used to end it."
  • Amber
    Amber’s husband, a military veteran, shot and killed himself in their home. She continues to experience the effects of long-term PTSD.
  • David (the Shedd-Hafley Family)
    “It had never crossed my mind that Tom could buy a gun. He was only 18 -- I didn’t think he was old enough.” David’s son called the police to tell them where they could find his body after he killed himself with a gun -- so his parents and brother wouldn’t worry.
  • Dorothy


Locking and unloading your gun is just one way to prevent it getting into the wrong hands at the wrong time. For more information on responsible storage of firearms and how you can help others improve their storage practices, visit Be SMART.


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the US, anytime, about any type of crisis.

Copyright photos: Joe Quint/It Takes Us.