CDC Study: Proportion of Firearms-Related Suicides Down 6.3%

In this June 2015 photo released by the Seattle Police on Thursday, March 17, 2016, Detective Michael Ciesynski holds the shotgun which rock legend Kurt Cobain used to kill himself on April 8, 1994. Police did not say why they took the photos last year or why they're releasing them to the public at this time. (Seattle Police via AP)

Over half of firearms-related fatalities are suicides. Gun control proponents combine firearms-related suicides with firearms-related homicides to sell the idea that there’s an epidemic of “gun violence” to justify their desire to disarm the civilian population (excepting police). This despite the fact that “gun-free” Japan has a higher suicide rate than the U.S., indicating that someone determined to take their own life will find the means to do so. Period. Here’s another data point from a CDC study [via cnn.com] . . .

In both 1999 and 2014, firearms were the most common method by which men took their own lives, although the proportion of all suicides in men that were firearm-related decreased from 61.7% to 55.4%. Among women, poisoning was the most common method in 2014 and accounted for 34.1% of suicides, down from 36% in 1999.

Despite the decreases in the proportion of suicides related to firearms and poisonings, these methods are still responsible for the largest number of suicide deaths, [National Center for Health Statistics statistician Sally] Curtin said. And at the same time these deaths have decreased, the rate of suffocation-related suicide, primarily hanging, has increased, from 16.3% to 26% among women and from 19.1% to 26.8% among men.

“While it is good that rates for firearm- and poisoning-related suicides are decreasing a bit, it is concerning that the rates of suffocation are increasing,” [CDC Division of Violence Prevention behavioral scientist Kristin] Holland said.

It’s impossible to identify any one variable responsible for the overall increase in suicides or the decrease in the proportion of suicides that are firearms-related. There are a farrago of possibilities; from increasing availability of opiates, to the effects of the economy, to gun owners removing guns from their homes when a family member is in crisis. We don’t/can’t know all the cultural, physical or technological reasons for changes in the suicide rate.

Here’s one thing we do know: the decrease in the proportion of suicides that are firearms-related coincides with a historic increase in gun sales. Faced with this fact, gun control advocates can’t say that “more guns = more suicide.” Well, they can and they will, but they’ll be lying. Again. Still.

comments

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Don’t blow your brains out with a gun. It’s so messy and you have no idea that you’ll die right away. You may be conscientious for a minute or so while you bleed out and your eyes are vibrating back and forth in your head. There are so many better painless methods.

    (Example: computer dust spray filling up a bag around your head. You pass right out. Painless and you don’t have to have a closed casket).

    But better than any of those methods – just go get some help. There are some strong brain imbalances/chemistry going on in your head that is making you feel that way. Go see a doctor – ask your friends/relatives to take you to see one. Don’t sit around contemplating suicide because your brain chemistry is out of whack.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Suicidal ideation is usually related to the brain chemicals, but can also be a way to escape situational problems(finances, medical, chronic pain or substance abuse). We have a saying at my work, “Suicide doesn’t solve your problems, it just makes you dead”.

      The number at the bottom of the page is a good place to start if having troubles.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        A family friend solved his problem with suicide.
        His problem was that he was painfully and terminally ill (black lung disease).

        Conned his wife into leaving him alone to go shopping, called 9-1-1 (send cops now, don’t let my wife find my body) and shot himself in the heart with a 12ga.

    2. avatar Dr Brainwash says:

      I know of an incident where a man shot himself in the head with a gun playing Russian roullette. From the way he held the gun, He missed his brain and blew his half his face out. He was still alive and conscious for 10 minuets while he bled out his face and neck.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Yes – there are many horror stories where they survived. One only need to go to google and search “failed shotgun suicide” to see some of the most horrific survival stories.

        The solution? Don’t use a gun – or better yet, go get some help.

    3. avatar Cliff H says:

      Suicide is almost always painful – to the survivors – although sometimes it may come as a relief for both themselves and the knowledge that their suffering loved one that they could not console or otherwise help is no longer in pain.

      Suicide is the ultimate self-awarded Darwin award. If you know someone who is depressed and suicidal you should by all means see if there is anything you can do to resolve whatever problem has driven them to that point, but if their suicidal impulse is the result of genetic or otherwise incurable and possibly congenital mental defect then it would appear reasonable to leave them be and remove their genetic code from the pool.

      I am wearing Nomex.

    4. avatar Stinkeye says:

      “You may be conscientious for a minute…”

      It’s probably fair to say that anyone who splatters their brains on the wall for someone else to clean up is not a conscientious person.

  2. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

    People in a bad way will find a method to do themselves in no matter what the law does. As Japan illustrates guns have nothing to do with it. People who are depressed, sick, broken hearted or just broke can make an irrevocable choice that harms there friends and families. No matter the method used, their choices should not effect my ability to defend myself or my family. Should we ban rope, or drugs or suspension bridges because some people might misuse them? The best thing to stop suicides is the old standby’s, family,friends and faith. The anti-gun crowd does not want to deal with that reality, they are just looking for excuses to get rid of the one instrument they hate and fear because it backs the freedom they also hate and fear.

  3. avatar Dr Brainwash says:

    Has the suicide rate itself decreased at all latley? Or is it still on the rise/plateau?

    1. avatar TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

      They are still rising, apparently, at least according to the National Center for Health Statustics as reported by the New York Times on 4/22/2016.

      You can find the article in Google News. I am unable to post the link here.

      1. avatar Dr Brainwash says:

        Thanks.

    2. avatar TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

      They are still rising, apparently, at least according to the National Center for Health Statistics as reported by the New York Times on 4/22/2016.

      You can find the article in Google News. I am unable to post the link here.

  4. avatar Cloud says:

    Heh, that’s Kurt Cobain’s Remington M11.

  5. avatar Ed Davis says:

    The cited and linked: “a CDC study” does not appear to address mechanism of suicide.

  6. avatar dwb says:

    The rise since 1998 coincides with the explosion of the internet and Fox News. Maybe people finally realize how f** we are.

  7. avatar Treedodger says:

    Nice use of the word farrago, Mr. Farago. 🙂

  8. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Well S. Korea and Japan have very few guns and lead the world in offing oneself. Part of a bleak world view methinks. In this country it seems killing yourself with a gun is a guy thing. Violent and permanent. But it’s so EZ with a bottle of over the counter painkillers.Or a razor blade. Sorry-I have no real solutions(except Jesus). I’ve had a few people I knew over the last 50 years who did the deed. Alcohol/drugs involved in all cases…banning guns won’t solve anything.

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “… the rate of suffocation-related suicide, primarily hanging, has increased, from 16.3% to 26% among women and from 19.1% to 26.8% among men.”

    Does this mean we should ban rope, yarn, string, ribbon, chain, wire, bed sheets, nylon stockings, scarves, hoses, tubing, straps, and webbing … and require a background check and substantial reason before being able to purchase bolts of cloth?

  10. avatar Anon says:

    RF, according to the raw data, firearms suicides are actually up (by total number of suicides), just not as much as other methods.

    See page 3 here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db241_table.pdf#4

    So the headline should be corrected. Right now it is very misleading.

    1. avatar MudPuppy says:

      RF appears to be discussing rates which can be down while the total count is up. The title could be improved to reflect that.

      1. avatar Anon says:

        Really even “rate” is wrong, since it’s ambiguous about whether it’s the rate among the population (up) or the rate among people actually committing suicide (down). “Proportion” would be a better, clearer word.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          Dude, seriously? Rate / ratio / proportion – all mean the same thing. Or nearasdamnit.

        2. avatar Anon says:

          Whatever. The current headline clearly implies that total suicides committed using firearms are down. They aren’t, unfortunately.

  11. avatar Peter says:

    Has any study been done of Japan’s “Family Suicide” rate?
    When a Father kills his family it is counted as a family suicide in Japan, whereas in the US it would be a murder suicide.
    I wonder if that would skew the murder/suicide rates closet to the US.
    Of course, most of them are not by firearm so it would not affect the “gun violence” stats.

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