Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitprop arm is a great landing at the wrong airport. The Trace’s journalists are, indeed, journalists. They uncover actual, honest-to-God facts about guns and firearms-related injuries and deaths — and then ignore or manipulate the data to suit their paymaster’s civilian disarmament agenda.

Check out the chart above. Considering the revelation that firearms are used in only six percent of suicide attempts, what’s your takeaway?

Mine: suicide prevention efforts centering on restricting access to firearms are a gross misallocation of resources. Money, time and effort would be far better spent trying to help potential suicides in general, rather than focusing on the means contemplated or used.

Anyone insisting that civilian disarmament is an “answer” to suicide (e.g., To stop suicides, restrict gun access) — is hiding their true intentions.

Which is The Trace’s stock in trade. They cherry pick facts that support gun control, and then arrange them to promote support for its implementation. As if you didn’t know . . .

59 Responses to Firearms Used in Six Percent of Suicide Attempts

    • If 6% of attempts are firearms and 54% of successes are firearms, that isn’t enough information to suppose how good a shot people are. If anything, it suggests people are relatively good shots at point blank range, as the small portion of the attempts make up most of the successes – so they aren’t likely very good with many of the other methods.

      Without knowing the numbers or the rate of successful firearm attempts, we can’t be sure.

      • The 46% aren’t necessarily bad shots – but more likely failed A&P101 and Bio101; the lack of human physiology is much more likely the reason for failure…. this most likely holds true for those that failed attempts with other (non-firearms) attempts as well.

        • Most people don’t realize how survivable a headshot can be. A shot across the frontal lobes: survivable, a shot that goes longitudinally down one hemisphere: survivable. Many brain structures are redundant and/or not critical to life. Destroying these areas of the brain will only kill you in the (likely) event of hypovolemic shock or stroke.

  1. Most of the time the person isn’t really trying to commit suicide, it’s not really an attempt, it’s probable more of a statement. Pills, slitting wrist, etc aren’t wholehearted efforts. When they put a bullet in their head they really are trying to die.

    • I think this is the important factor. Do we care about the method of successful suicide attempts? E.g., the chemical composition of ammonia and chlorine is apparently very successful as demonstrated in Japan. Perhaps we should regulate the sale and possession of one/both of these common household chemicals if method is the proper focus of our concern.

      Or, on the other hand, do we care about helping those who attempt suicide? If – hypothetically – we found a way to identify and mitigate suffering of most people who attempt suicide we could accomplish more good then would be possible were we to succeed in removing one (or more) successful methods.

    • The moment you list some suicide methods and declare them not real attempts, you’re allowing that those people can go ahead and die, because many people do die that way.

  2. Is it just me or is the pie chart on the right titled incorrectly? It’s not an attempt once you have succeeded. It just a fatal suicide.

    Robert I don’t think the 82%and 54 % contradict each other. It means 54% of fatal suicides used guns, and those who use guns to attempt suicide are sucesful 82% of the time.

  3. The means have no bearing on the desire. Removing the guns does not remove the intent.

    When the anti-gun folks admit that then we might be able to get something done.

    • I will argue that its NOBODY’S business if you want to put a Glock in your mouth, and “opt out”…. As long as you don’t take someone along for the ride before hand… Isn’t suicide the ultimate 14th Amendment argument? “What else epitomizes “my body, my choice” more than choosing the time, place, and method of your own exit? That’s what needs to thrown back in the face of these antis who continue to use suicide as an excuse to push for civilian disarmament… Use the abortion angle to push back…

  4. “Suicides attempted with a firearm are lethal 82.5 percent of the time.” As opposed to the new chart’s 54 percent. So there is that.”

    These are two different statements, the former more of a follow-up from the first chart: of all suicide attempts, 6% are by firearm. Of those, 82.5% succeed.

    This is a reasonable expectation.

    Of all successful suicide attempts, 54% were by firearm; therefore 46% were by means other than firearm. Firearms are a reasonably reliable method, but there are others, and some are fairly reliable too. See Japan for an astonishingly higher suicide by non-firearm means, as firearms are much rarer over there.

    • For a fascinating fascinating study on the comparative homicide rates in the U.S. vs Europe, see the Harvard Journal of Law and Publuc Policy, Vol. 30, No. 12. The article addresses the question of whether strict gun control would actually lower the overall homicide and suicide rate here–based on the rates in European countries. The answer is “no,” given that the rates of suicide and homicide per 1,000 are not much different–just more gun use in the U.S.

  5. GUN CONTROL ADVOCATES LOVE SUICIDES.

    Why? Because they can combine them with homicides in order to create deceptive “gun death” numbers that they then use to argue that that high rates of lawful firearms ownership cause these deaths.

    So what is the problem with this argument?

    1) Higher rates of lawful gun ownership are associated with LOWER rates of homicide. Yes, more legal guns likely results in lower crime, and it certainly does not cause higher crime. That’s why gun control groups include suicide.

    2) Many nations with near total, or even total gun bans have much higher suicide rates than the US (in some cases nearly double ours). These include: Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. Somehow people manage to kill themselves at the highest rates without in the world without firearms.

    3) Let’s be clear: If guns are available, they will be used by people to take their own lives. However, availability and use does not equal causation. People in the SF Bay Area more likely to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge – but that doesn’t mean that if it wasn’t there the suicide rate would drop. People in the SF Bay Area would simply use another method if the bridge was not there – and if firearms were not available, people would (and do) use other methods.

    4) This point is something that anyone in EMS can confirm: In most so-called suicide attempts, the person has no intention of dying. Call it a cry for help or manipulation of others, but these people clearly didn’t really want to die. They scratch their wrists or they take a few pills and then call someone to tell them so that EMS is called and they get treatment. These people do need help, and they should definately get it, but they do not want to die. The problem for researchers is that these so called suicide attempts are mixed in with those cases where the person really wants to die.

    People who really want to die choose a method that will work. They jump from a freeway overpass or a high building, hang themselves, cut a major artery, take a clearly lethal dose of pills, use the carbon monoxide from their car, and yes, if firearms are available, they will use them.

    The error in reasoning is thinking that the method determines the chance of dying – when exactly the opposite is true. The desire to die dictates the choice of method – AND THERE ARE LOTS OF SURE METHODS BESIDES GUNS.

    The truth is that gun control does not stop suicides. If it did, China, Russia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea would have low suicide rates. Instead, they lead the world.
    Do not be fooled. If suicides are not caused or increased by firearms availability then the argument than reducing the number of lawfully owned firearms will save lives falls apart – because looking at homicides there is a strong correlation between high rates of firearms ownership and low rates of murder.

  6. “Money, time and effort would be far better spent trying to help potential suicides in general, rather than focusing on the means contemplated or used.”

    As I am just a curious person, how exactly is this done?? We have suicide prevention hotlines, the dreaded social media, etc. How is it possible to prevent people from doing what they ultimately want to or feel like doing? I’m not disagreeing with anyone here, or trying to be an ass. I am just curious how this could be accomplished.

    • A society where people cared enough to notice the signs and try to help would be a good start.

      You know, a society where people are not impatiently waiting for the next Kim K in a thong selfie or spending all their time narcissisticly posting pictures of their lunch or their new tattoo on the internet to get upvotes from people they don’t even know.

      You can’t save them all but you might cut down the numbers if people paid more attention to their friends and family than to their phone where they’re browsing whatever some celeb jerkoff did this week.

      • This really is the one aspect of society that government cannot ever hope to help. It’s friends, family, and neighbors that matter. If a suicidal person has none of them in their life who care about their wellbeing there isn’t a government program that can be devised that will ever make a difference.

        Without a support system at home all you would end up doing is institutionalizing them, putting them on drugs and forgetting about them. You might as well have just let them kill them selves.

        • Oh, a government program to make a difference could probably be devised, but no one would be willing to pay what was needed — but mostly you’re probably right.

          One phrase that actually is dangerous to use is “You need a professional”. To someone in a suicidal mood, that translates to “I don’t care enough to try to help”. “Let’s go see a professional” is far better; it says, “I want to help but don’t know how, so let’s go find out”; it says, “I’m in this with you; you’re not alone.”

      • Oh, a government program to make a difference could probably be devised, but no one would be willing to pay what was needed — but mostly you’re probably right.

        One phrase that actually is dangerous to use is “You need a professional”. To someone in a suicidal mood, that translates to “I don’t care enough to try to help”. “Let’s go see a professional” is far better; it says, “I want to help but don’t know how, so let’s go find out”; it says, “I’m in this with you; you’re not alone.”

    • I would put forth that “social media” is responsible for more suicides than it would ever prevent; since most suicides/mass shooting usually result from bullying, and social media is the favorite weapon for bullying these days…

    • One thing that has been found to be effective is community drop-in centers for the mentally ill and anyone having a crisis. Such a center needs a professional on site 24/7, plus volunteers. With a place to turn before they start feeling suicidal, many people never get that far.

      Not cheap, but it would benefit society in a lot of other ways, too.

  7. My relatives have about a 75-80% success rate with suicide. This accounts for one relative who did not succeed who I believe had the intention. While a few used guns, a few did not. The one who was not successful tried to wreck his car at a very high rate of speed but never really admitted it was an attempt. I think the “non gun” suicide numbers could be lower in actuality due to some of those suicides being declared accidental e.g. person X died in a car crash, or suicide by cop before it was realized to be a thing.

  8. My takeaway is that anyone who focuses on the method rather than the underlying problem is a dishonest… Well, that will get me a [Flame Deleted] so I’ll just say they’re a dishonest person of poor moral standing who is possessed of an agenda antithetical to their claims of caring about people.

  9. Does anyone else find it odd that the left (broadly speaking) is pro-assisted suicide and yet uses suicide statistics to inflate the numbers and push gun control? Are they on the side of life or not?

    This may be an unpopular opinion with TTAG’s readership, but I think people own their own lives and can choose if they want to end them. I find it disgusting that their deaths are being used to push an unrelated agenda.

    • the Fabian Socialist Society has had that in their agenda from their inception except that with them it was not voluntary suicide backed by medical grounds such as immense suffering from cancer or other such illness that can cause agony but rather once they deemed you had reached the end of your “useful” life. eg born disabled….. euthanized, workplace accident leaving you crippled…… euthanized, start getting what they deem too old….. euthanized. what the left dont realise is that we have a fascist govt with the trappings of what is left of the republic (or in my case in australia the trappings of what is left of the so called democracy (which IMHO never works for long anyway)) and in the long or short term it does not matter if the govt is fascist or if it is socialist or indeed any other flavour of dictatorship you could name, the results are exactly the same as are the ideals behind them as they all come from the same source.

      now i am not left wing by any means and while i do not support suicide or murder in any shape or form i do support people who are medically on their last legs, all possible medical efforts have been made to heal them and they are going to die slowly and agonizingly being able to choose to end it a little quicker (in fact it used to be common practice that doctors and nurses would at that time give a larger dose of painkillers to end the suffering). this i call having mercy on your fellow human being. it has however also been misused at times but these days it is more (especially in the case of wealthy patients) more about the money the hospitals make by keeping them alive far longer than they otherwise would have even when there is no chance of survival

    • Brandon – “Are they on the side of life or not?”

      NOT, POS (D) don’t give a flying F about you, or anyone else. They are pissed off that there’s so many people on the planet that they didn’t kill with a pair of scissors while the people were coming out of their mother. I won’t repeat his name again, but there is a fallen angel in the bible that demands that kind of daily sacrifice. They definitely support his goals and work on his behalf in all of their other agenda.

  10. That suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    And I can take or leave it if I please

    Someone had to go there……

    • The sword of time will pierce our skins
      It doesn’t hurt when it begins
      But as it works its way on in
      The pain grows stronger
      Watch it grin

    • TrueRedHat is the winner of the internet this round; congratulations! A big thanks to all our other contestants, and good night, America!

  11. So what are the other 94% methods used? Anything else top or match 6%? Maybe list those alongside guns. 94% is too large to lump together as “other or undetermined.”

    • As an ex Navy man, I wonder what the survivability rate would be if you stuck your head down the barrel of a 16″ Naval gun, just it went off. This, assuming the air rushing down the barrel in front of the projectile, didn’t blow you away, and over the ships side, where you became instant shark bait.

  12. When I was in the Army, I knew of several suicides and fatalities that occurred in my unit. One Soldier killed himself by jumping off the roof of the barracks. Another Soldier died by overdosing on pills. Another Soldier murdered his wife (another Soldier from another unit) with a knife. Most other unintentional fatalities were vehicle-related.

    Even down-range, one Soldier from my unit was killed when an IED went off under his vehicle. That itself set the MRAP over the edge off the drop beside the road, and everyone died when the vehicle tumbled over and was totaled. I think one died from an RPG attack on their convoy.

    I have yet to think of anyone I knew or heard of being killed by a firearm during my time, interestingly. Don’t get me wrong, it occurred, but you would think a firearm would be the choice.

  13. So, let’s get this straight…

    The MF aholes that are trying to bring down Society, and America, with drugs, debauchery, and anything goes, don’t want people to shoot themselves when they finally give up. Got it.

    BS FLAG THROWN

    Another verse, same as the first. It’s all the same “We can’t do our version of tyranny until we strip you of our means to stop us”.

    FU

    FING KILL YOURSELVES (for the kids), and you don’t get to use a gun either you POS (D) gun-grabbing MFs.

  14. Guns are so overrated for suicide. Hell, my good friend offed himself with a bunch of Ritalin. He didn’t last very long after eating those.
    That sucked.

  15. Not to be cold, but I’d much rather they blow their brains out like they do here rather than cook up Sarin nerve-gas and take half the people in the building with them like they do in Japan. And yes that’s apparently a ‘thing’ in the Land of the Rising Sun. You can find detailed instructions on how to mix up all kinds of toxic crap to off yourself on the internet and buy most of the ingredients at the store. Problem is that apartment walls are not airtight. People who see no reason to live will FIND ways to die.

    Once again the antis are trying to jerk tears to change minds.

  16. Wait, the antis would rather ban all firearms & double the number of living dead trying to kill themselves fruitlessly (I’m using their bad logic) than do something about the 19 times more lost souls already trying to die by other means & failing? How is society, or even these poor individuals, served by that outcome? Again, assuming determined folks can’t figure another way to off themselves.

  17. The war on people (especially the war on some “drugs”) has a great deal to do with the reasons some people choose suicide. I spent 14 years in hospice nursing, and even among those patients there were a good many who got little or no relief from the “approved” drugs and doses, and had no access to anything else. Except to find a way to end their suffering once and for all.

    • A friend of mine was suffering from cancer. One day he just left a quick note, grabbed his 45, went out on the patio, and offed himself. He suffered no more, but his wife did. He would have taken the “dirt nap” soon anyway, he just made it a little sooner.

  18. Guns are the most effective way to kill yourself.

    So what.

    You have a right to take your own life. Its sad, but where is the problem here??

  19. True freedom of choice, usually happens only once! all about power and control over your supposed free rights, such as the NFL Ass****s, Being a Veteran this conduct really agitates me hope all those Muslim Loving SOB’s Geld them selves and have blood poisoning for using the same implement!

  20. Usually people that own firearms I have found are a lot smarter than those that do not. A common sense person that has a goal will attempt to attain it in the easiest way possible. This does not account for Russian Roulette marathons. I believe drug overdoses are a form of suicide. We all learn that using class A drugs can result in death, as well as excessive use of alcohol, but yet over a 100,000 succumb to them every year. If you know it can kill you and still do it
    that makes it willful. Gun owners realize early on which end of the gun the bullet comes out of. Too bad the addicts can’t.

  21. Australia banned and confiscated almost all firearms in 1997.

    this had a huge impact on firearm suicides, reducing them to almost zero.

    However it has had almost no effect on the overall suicide rate. In fact, the year with the second highest suicide rate occurred after the confiscation and included almost no firearms.

  22. Let the gene pool clean it self out……free guns and drugs for every fool …..and get rid of them once and for all!!

    People who want guns and drugs will always have them no matter what the gOOBERMiNT attempts!

    Liberals the least informed…… think they have all the answers

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