Blood test (courtesy snacklsafely.com)

Gun control advocates tend to ignore firearms-related suicides, even though they – the suicides – account for nearly half of all firearms-related deaths. Maybe that’s because the antis know they can’t legislate away suicide. And anti-gun legislation is the name of their game. Only now the rules of that game may have changed. A new technology may open the door to the anti-gunnners’ wet dream: proactive proscription. Here’s the deal [via pbs.org] . . .

Alexander Niculescu of Indiana University developed a blood test and questionnaire that can predict who within a group of men with psychological disorders will develop suicidal feelings in the next year.

Sally Adee, reporting for New Scientist, explains:

To develop the test, over several years Niculescu’s team took blood samples from 217 men undergoing various psychiatric treatments. They compared changes in gene expression in 37 of them who developed suicidal feelings with previously published work and with post-mortem samples of 26 men who had killed themselves. They identified 11 gene changes that could be biological markers for spotting people who might be considering suicide, and they monitored these same markers in a test group of 265 men with psychiatric conditions.

The questionnaire asked the subjects about their physical energy as well as their feelings about their accomplishments, but avoided direct questions about suicide. In a trial of 108 people, the scientists’ predictions of suicidal ideation was 92% accurate, and in a second trial of 157 people, they predicted which men would be hospitalized from a suicide attempt that year with 71% accuracy.

The test was especially accurate when predicting suicidal thoughts within the next year in people with bipolar disorder, predicting correctly 98% of the time. It even predicted with 94% accuracy who would make a serious suicide attempt that would require hospitalization.

You know what’s coming next: make the blood test mandatory for citizens looking to exercise their gun rights, ID the people in danger of suicide and make them prohibited persons. No new gun purchases. In fact, no guns in your household. Ba-bam! Civilian disarmament. As Jesse Pinkman would say, yeah science, bitch! Only . . .

There are doubts about its effectiveness on the general population, since only 16 people out of every 100,000 commit suicide. Right now, the test could provide too many false positives and false negatives for use in the general population to be safe, but could be helpful for those already diagnosed with psychological disorders, since doctors could make further decisions on treatment of those patients, including the length of hospital stays and medication.

Never mind all that. The antis have always said gun owners have little pricks. It could soon be true. [h/t SS]

Recommended For You

43 Responses to How Long Before California Requires a Blood Test for Gun Ownership?

  1. Yikes-big brother and the thought police…BREAKING NEWS(ta da)-concealed carrier in CHICAGO shoots armed punks trying to rob him(after getting shot) from:WGN news just now…btw self-medicate and don’t ever go to a shrink…

  2. This should work well with their desires for microstamping and “smart” guns.

    Sha-nay-nay sez~You so crazy…..

  3. Did they happen to mention exactly what they meant by correctly predicting something 94% of the time? Are they saying 94% of the time that the test predicted a suicide attempt, it actually came to pass? Or that in 94% of trials, the prediction (whether positive or negative) matched the outcome? Because the latter is trivial to achieve for rare events – all you need is any test that almost always comes back negative.

  4. Suicidal ideation is not sucidal action. It’s not even necessary that the thoughts prolonged so much as they occur once in a while. Who among modern men hadn’t thought about it in the last year? Be honest with yourself. Most men will have a sad time once or more a year. The terminology being used is sloppy and there is no link to any relevant research that’s been published on the matter so I doubt the matter is concretely defined. In fact I betcha that it’s not been peer reviewed at all. Also, the test seems to focus is efficacy on men who were already diagnosed and or in treatment. This does nothing for or about anyone who is not.

    • took blood samples from 217 men undergoing various psychiatric treatments. They compared changes in 37 of them who developed suicidal feelings with previously published work and with samples of 26 men who had killed themselves. They identified 11 gene changes for spotting people who might be considering suicide, they monitored these same markers in a test group of 265 men with psychiatric conditions.
      Gee, this sounds like a great test. I have a group of 100 guys wearing red shirts and find that they are indeed wearing red.

  5. Why not just restrict gun ownership by profession, if suicide rates are going to be the metric?

    Doctors are 1.87 times more likely to commit suicide than the average American. This is followed by dentists, cops, veterinarians, financial workers, real estate agents, electricians, lawyers, farmers, pharmacists and chemists. You’re in one of these professions? No guns for you, comrade! You may turn them in over there; the line forms on the left.

    http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/01/06/top-11-professions-with-highest-suicide-rates/

  6. The most recent gun control legislation proposed in Salem Massachusetts:

    Any person applying for the purchase of a firearm shall be thrown into the nearest lake with the firearm and 1000 rounds of ammunition chained to their body. If they float, then surely they are evil and shall be denied. If they drown, as would any good citizen, then they are approved.

  7. Maybe “Uncle” will start requiring the test during annual physicals and insurance companies will require it for life insurance policies.

  8. Please.. Someone with a background in statistics drive a truck through how this test does not have the “power” to make those conclusions.

    • You don’t really need a background in statistics…..

      According to the Googles the US is averaging roughly 30,000 suicides per year (rounded to make the math easy). Their two studies included roughly 300 people. Their sample size was a whopping 1% of the population.

      In order to get a 99% confidence level out a group of 30,000 people you need a helluva lot more than 1% (for those not statistically inclined). You need right about a full 33% of the group.

      There are two problems….99% isn’t good enough when we’re talking about restricting natural, civil, and constitutionally protected rights.

      Second, we’re not talking about restricting the rights of the 30,000. We’re talking about the rights of better than 300,000,000. Even if all 30,000 were tested posthumously, that represents 0.01% of the overall population. Tragic, sure. Statistically significant enough to strip rights away from 99.99% of everyone else? Nope.

  9. If there’s changes that occur genetically prior to suicide or suicidal thoughts, perhaps they should study a possible cure for that? Actually save people and their mentality.

  10. Gun control advocates tend to ignore firearms-related suicides, even though they – the suicides – account for nearly half of all firearms-related deaths. Maybe that’s because the antis know they can’t legislate away suicide.

    I disagree Mr. Farago. I see gun grabbers talking about suicide with firearms a LOT. Gun grabbers use it as a reason to prohibit anyone from having any firearm because a person could use a firearm to commit suicide.

  11. “antis know they can’t legislate away suicide”
    I’d be surprised to hear antis give one rip about suicides that aren’t gun related.

    An ID, blood test and background check to exercise 2A rights, but no ID to exercise 15A and 19A rights and no background check to register to vote.

  12. First, the sample population isn’t nearly large enough to consider anything but laughably inadequate in size. Second, the population of the study was self-selected from people already having issues:

    …from 217 men undergoing various psychiatric treatments.

    So this one fails even harder and faster than most of the anti-gunners dreck.

    • I feel compelled to point out that this study was not designed to find a way to limit gun rights or to predict suicide in the general population. It is a blood test in its development (infancy) stage, designed specifically to help identify people likely to attempt suicide from the subset of men already receiving treatment for certain psychological disorders.

      This is also not anti-gunners grabbing and misusing this science to try to infringe on gun rights.

      This is we, the rightfully paranoid gun rights activists, looking several chess moves into the future and predicting that this budding new bit of biology might be co-opted by politicians who do not understand it and used to create more infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.

      Is it a valid concern? Yes, I think so.

      Is it valid to criticize the science itself? No, not really. That is an appropriate sample size for initial developments of a new blood test designed for a small subset of the population. They’ll need larger sample sizes as they continue to develop the test, but likely needed to publish their current findings in order to get funding for larger scale testing.

      And, much as I loathe to play devil’s advocate here, it’s not even valid to criticize the anti-gun crowd for misusing the science since (unless I’ve missed something), none of them have even suggested it yet. We just suspect they will, at some point in the future.

  13. Let’s see, we’re going to administer blood/DNA tests to 100 million law-abiding American citizens? How much do you suppose that will cost? Do I have to ask who we think is going to be required to pay for it? Could this be developed into yet another obstacle to firearm ownership? Coincidentally, I mean? I’m betting $10,000 per test, more if the government performs the tests (like double), probably need to be retested every few years, but hey!, it’s for the children, right? In fact, who paid for this ridiculous research?

  14. Seem to recall a Federal law that prohibits discrimination based on genetic testing, but it may only affect employment and insurability. If genetic profiling does prove reliable, then there are more serious consequences that lack 2A rights
    * drivers licenses
    * alcohol purchase (genetic testing holds promise for predicting alcoholism)
    * knifes, rope, or any other suicide aids
    * restricting access to first floor (some factories in China have erected nets due to jumpers)
    etc.
    Regardless, those so inclined will find a way. And maybe a ‘right to suicide’ is what’s needed in addition to ‘right to die’ legislation.

  15. People who are suicidal will tell you. You only have to ask. This is >99% accurate. If you suspect somebody of being depressed, just ask. Are you feeling hopeless? Are you thinking of hurting yourself? How do you plan to do it?
    A suicidal person with a plan needs help right away. They will usually cooperate.

  16. “The antis have always said gun owners have little pricks. It could soon be true”.

    I saw what you did there…

  17. I want a glock 19. I’m tempted to just buy one out of the back of a van and skip all the hassle.

  18. “Gun control advocates tend to ignore firearms-related suicides…”

    No they don’t… they include them in every “gun violence” statement they make, even if only to increase the numbers to sound scarier.

  19. Gee, first you take a group of people who are crazy, and then you stick holes in them to determine if they are gonna off themselves. The problem with this study is that people who are not rational are much more likely to do things that are to say least, less than well thought out. What if they are having their genetic code drift because of what the meds are doing to them? These study sizes on a subset of people who are already defined as not normal means that you are going to have a tough time applying them to the larger set of crazy people, and applying the conclusions to general population, well that is just NUTS!

  20. Ok, as someone with experience with these kind of studies, they are completely off base. Scientists have been desperately trying to “black box” solutions to diseases for years, and news flash, it doesn’t generally work because most diseases are complex and involve more than one gene. And especially something as complex as suicide attempts which includes environmental factors that couldn’t be factored in to a test.

    To give you some idea about the general success these kind of blind gene-expression studies have, despite years and years of study with literally tens of thousands of pooled samples they have not yet found a “biomarker” that is a better predictor of diabetes than the question “do any of your blood relatives have diabetes?”

    Seriously, there is nothing in this study that suggests broad applicability. Not only was their entire sample pool self-selected from people already being treated for mental health issues, they also had questionnaires to inform their decisions.

    Now is that to say this is method will never work for understanding disease? No, not at all, and for cancer treatment these kind of studies have already provided interesting and useful data. Its just that for complex mental disorders like this we’re not yet at a level of understanding about the human genome, which has hundreds of thousands of networked interactions, to try and unravel something like that.

    Also, c’mon Robert, where in this article did they say they were consider it for gun ownership? That’s just plain fear mongering out of a clickbait story.

  21. Thinking someone and doing something are very different animals. Seems like another wishful thinking anti-gun program.

  22. Pshaw. I’ve heard some guy recently claiming that he has developed a test that can pretty reliably predict whether a person is a rapist based solely on their country of origin! Now that’s something.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *