Gun laws associated with lower suicide rates

October 02, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The New York Times

Researchers recently found that several different kinds of laws that restrict gun ownership are associated with lower rates of suicide in the states where they are enacted. When the researchers compared states with and without mandatory background checks for gun purchases, they found that this requirement was associated with a 53 percent lower gun suicide rate in the states where it was in effect. Restrictions on the open carrying of handguns were associated with a 42 percent lower suicide rate. In 11 states where a waiting period was required before purchasing a gun, the suicide rate was inversely related to the length of the waiting period. Even after controlling for other differences among states, the study showed that each of the laws was associated with a lower rate of suicide by gun as well as a lower overall rate of suicide. “When you make a highly lethal method of suicide harder to access, you’re going to lower the suicide rate,” said lead author Michael D. Anestis, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. “We need to emphasize evidence-based gun safety among gun owners.”

Spark Extra! Learn about a recently adopted gun violence restraining order law in California.