Monday, August 14, 2023

Ready access to guns contributes to soaring number of suicides

Experts say ready access to guns contributes to the issue. Suicides attributed to firearm injuries have been rising since 2006. In 2022, nearly 27,000 people died by gun-related suicide, surpassing earlier records and accounting for more than half of all suicide deaths, reported The New York Times.

Mike Anestis, the executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, attributes the increase partly to an “unprecedented surge” in firearm sales in 2020. That year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation processed a record of about 39.7 million firearm background checks.

In a paper published in JAMA Psychiatry, Dr. Anestis and his colleagues found that those who purchased a firearm for the first time during the surge were at a higher risk of having experienced suicidal thoughts.

“If firearms are more likely to be in homes where suicidal thoughts recur, then as the years go by you’re more likely to have that sort of confluence of wanting to die and having ready access to — by far — the most lethal method for suicide,” Dr. Anestis said.

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