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TTAG reader MarkPA writes:

Of the 30,000 or so annual deaths by gun shot, two thirds are suicides. We, the People of the Gun, ironically take little interest in this statistic, brushing it off by mentioning the “substitution effect.” That without guns, these people would have found other means to end their lives. This is a mistake on our part.

First, assuming this doesn’t change, our community of gun owners is depleted by 20,000 members annually.  Besides the obvious tragedy of 20,000 lives lost, our side loses that many supporters in the voting booth.

Second, we will continually be battling with that statistic — 30,000+ people shot to death each year — in the fight to defend Second Amendment rights.

It is in OUR OWN interest to take the lead in the public health issue of general suicide prevention. Not just the 20,000 or so who use firearms, and not only the 20,000+ more who succeed by other means. We should be concerned with the far larger number of those who attempt suicide.

To this end, there is a report of encouraging news: Club drug spray ketamine can stop suicidal thoughts, study finds.


After four hours:
34% of patients given the nasal spray treatment no longer had suicidal thoughts
26% of patients given the nasal spray treatment still thought they were “probably better off dead”
55% of patients given the placebo still thought they were “probably better off dead”

After four weeks:
77% of patients with continued treatment with the nasal spray reported that they “enjoy life or take it as it comes”.
58% of patients treated with traditional antidepressants reported that they “enjoy life or take it as it comes.”

Imagine if this, or some other method of intervention were found to be so remarkably effective. Imagine if we, the People of the Gun, were to take a lead position in the search for and PROMOTION of some such a remarkably effective treatment.

What might be the net result? Let’s say we were able to save half of the 20,000 who commit suicide using a firearm each year; that’s 10,000 gun owners’ lives saved. Ten thousand more gun owners’ each year to support gun rights.

Say also that we had some impact on the 20,000 or more non-gun owners who commit suicide annually. Or some of the 100,000 who attempt, but fail, for what ever reason. Might some fraction of these – and their loved-ones – be just slightly more open to arguments about the contributions that gun-owners make to public safety?

Are we, America’s gun owners, better off appearing to be indifferent to the problem of suicide in society at-large? Or is it even remotely possible that we could save lives, not to mention improve the the image of America’s gun owners by getting behind this effort? Why not a Bob Owens Memorial Campaign to Prevent Suicide?

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  1. Not a primary point, but….. I rather doubt that all or even most of the people who commit firearm suicides are reliable pro-gun voters.

    • And there it is, not all firearms owners/users are the same nor or those who commit suicide. There’s very little interest in this country to prevent suicide, I doubt this will change anytime soon.

      • Well, something like 80% of suicides are white males, so why would politicians or anyone else care?

        • Anonymoose, we need to be making your point over and over. White men have been at the bottom of the PC totem pole for a long time now, and the effects are telling. Since the unhappy, hateful Left is never satisfied (a cardinal truth of the modern political landscape), we must be pressed even lower, so that pole is now being pounded on from the top with “white privilege,” and BLM (can’t say ALM, and never mind WLM!), etc., etc.

          The ironic kicker is that white men are still, if not in control, in a position to control, and we are allowing this to happen to us precisely because we are good, kind, sharing, welcoming people – the very opposite of all that is being said of us to justify this PC idiocy and gin up racial hate!

          This hatred of white men is not merely racial. It is grounded in hate for America, anything to bring down America. If white men don’t “stand up” for themselves, America is toast. The horrible template that has been put in place by the left is that patriotism is racist because the country was founded by bad white men. America has to go.

          Back to the point of the article. As a practical matter, it seems inconsequential that we are losing voters or gun owners to suicide. What does seem to be a valid reason for gun owners to be concerned about this is the anti-gun argument that fewer guns would mean fewer suicides. Evidently guns are the method of choice and making suicide a little less attractive (!) might mean fewer suicides. That’s the argument. While it is weak, because the kind of depression that leads to suicide is serious enough that not being able to use the first choice method is hardly going to matter, it is a superficially attractive argument.
          However, for the pro-2A community to work against such suicides will do more to highlight this argument than to prevent suicides. And nobody is going to give our community credit for caring. While it might be a good thing to do, it is likely a poor tactic in the fight to retain our rights.

        • White males are 80% of the suicides because they are currently the only group that the general population is encouraged to discriminate against. When one is constantly vilified, ridiculed, and often physically attacked simply because of their color, it tends to make those ones depressed. Strange, huh?

    • It probably depends on how you define “most”. Per-100,000 deaths the highest rate at 38.8/100,000 belongs to men 75 and over.

    • “American gun owners need to take the problem of NATIONAL suicide via illegal immigration SERIOUSLY.”


        • Seems like he is saying that he considers the illegal immigration problem to be much greater, and therefore much more important, than the overall suicide rate, which is 12.6 per 100K in the US, versus a European average of 11.9, putting the US right about in the middle of those most would consider to be our peers. This would not normally be considered a serious problem(except perhaps by millennials who tend to react only with emotions and lack critical thinking and mathematics skills).

          • “Seems like he is saying that he considers the illegal immigration problem to be much greater, and therefore much more important,…”

            Yeah, I’d say so. 33,000 suicides/yr vs. 300,000+ illegals entering the country every year. Illegals are killing the culture ten times faster than suicides.

        • I get what he’s saying, but it’s a nonsequitir argument. Preventing suicides is still a worthy goal even if illegal immigration is a bigger problem.

          • “Preventing suicides is still a worthy goal..”

            Why? Why is it a worthy goal? Why force people to remain in intolerable conditions just because doing so meets a “worthy goal”?

            What kind of people want to remove “life choices” from a free people? Who do you know thinks people are incapable of managing their lives? Who do you know wants to limit your choices, and your civil rights? Who do you know wants you to adhere to their value system, by force if necessary.

            It’s all for the children, isn’t it? Who do you know throws that around so easily as a means to force you to comply with their idea of worthy goals?

        • Rokurota’s delusions seem to stem from a belief that one man(or one group) can do anything and everything all at once, addressing every one of the thousands of problems confronting this “Pax Americana” at the end of its life cycle. Meanwhile, back in the real world, everyone has limited time and resources, and needs to judge for themselves where exactly they think these limited resources could be best spent. We could call this delusion; “Millennialitis”…

        • Fifty-one legislative bodies, numerous city and town councils, countless corporate boards and scads of families also share this “delusion” of tackling parallel problems simultaneously. Clearly you don’t think suicide is a problem. Why don’t you just say so instad of deflecting the issue?

          I vehemently disagree. I get the whole self-determination angle, but most suicides are making a decision at a dark moment in time they can’t reverse. Plus. legalized suicide in Europe is sliding into eugenic culling, and in Canada, cancer patients are denied treatment because euthanasia is cheaper. A culture either values all life or all life has no value.

    • I knew two people that committed suicide. One was a pretty far left liberal, one was a staunch conservative.

      The liberal, who previously would never have been around firearms, went to a gun range, rented a handgun, shot 49 times and saved the last for himself. The conservative, who owned a couple firearms, hung himself.

      Use of a firearm to commit suicide does not necessarily mean they were gun owners, nor supportive of 2A (or any of our) rights. Many buy, “borrow” or steal (or rent) the firearm just prior to using it. It is simply a means to an end, presumably chosen for quick effectiveness (or at least the perception thereof).

    • Preventing suicides by preventing “gun deaths” is a gun-controller argument. I know you meant well, Dan, but telling People Of The Gun to “get behind” preventing suicides comes very close to a tacit admission that because suicidal people choose guns to take their lives, guns and gun ownership must be the problem.

      Most people who commit suicide suffer from clinical depression—which can be said to be the major “cause” of suicide and not guns. Of course guns are not. Guns are no more the “cause” of suicide than are sad stories or blues music, both of which at various times have been accused of “causing” suicide. While it is commendable to get behind suicide prevention (actually clinical depression diagnosis and treatment) it is entirely wrong to do so from the standpoint of the gun-ownership community. Gun controllers would just love to see that happen.

      One test for the severity of clinical depression is to ask the patient how often he or she is having morbid thoughts of taking their lives. If the thoughts are constant or if they are occurring with increasingly frequency, then the individual need to be hospitalized. Properly treated, even seriously depressed people can make surprising recoveries. That said, when people take their lives those around them have often failed to notice the evident signs of depression thus contributing meaningfully to a depressed individual’s suicide. Guns are just the medium. The cause of suicide is depression.

      • The data does not support your statement that suicide is caused by depression; suicide is more often caused by lack of resiliency. How many previously happy junior military personnel have committed suicide when they got a “dear John” or divorce papers from their love at home while they are deployed? There are more than you think and are reported as “non-combat deaths” so there is still life insurance for dependents.
        It is the inability to get over problems that causes suicide according to psychological experts, not depression even though depression can clearly be a factor in some cases.

        • “Dear John letter” or divorce papers while deployed = equal major depressive event = equals potential suicide.

    • Probably not.: Two years ago I talked my son out of a suicide. He had a mini 14 pointed at his head.That was fun.- I want to know all about guns and suicide

        • And? My mother actually succeeded last year. She was miserable the last two or three years of her life and I very much saw it coming. I tried to inform her of ways that she maybe could feel better. I thought medication could help. She did not take my advice. That was her right and I didn’t fight with her about it her those last couple years.

        • Over the last thirty years I have tried dozens of medications for depression. It is hard to tell if they work or not, but some have seemed to take the edge off. I doubt that I would ever kill myself but I am not very afraid of death anymore even if I am not attracted to it either. Kratom has been helping a lot lately but the feds and many states are busy working on making it unavailable.

        • Vic you should consider EMDR treatment from I good head doctor. It worked on my wife real well. Only down side is that she is leaving me.

    • Vic, I had the same thought — I know of multiple cases where people bouight a gun just to kill themselves.

      BUT why should that matter? It should not. We’re not preventing suicides for gun rights, but because it’s right.

  2. “To this end, there is a report of encouraging news: Club drug spray ketamine can stop suicidal thoughts, study finds.”

    There’s a *big* problem with that – Ketamine (street name – ‘Special K’) is a powerful animal anesthetic, with a very high potential for abuse. They will be like those mice studies, where the mice keep pushing the lever until they are *dead*.

    It is *not* something you want people to be self-medicating with.

    On suicide – I’m a rather cold-hearted bastard. Who am I to tell someone they have to live?

    • I agree and posit that suicide is a right and for many people life is indeed a miserable affair. The world can be and often is a pretty shitty place. People who look around and see a wonderful world are a bit delusional. Not saying I don’t want to help people when I can, but strong arming them into anything is not my idea of helping.

    • Precisely.

      People have a natural, human and civil right to manage their own lives. They are not the property of “society”, they are free actors. Neither “society”, nor government has first call on a human life.

    • Ketamine is psychologically (and not physically) addictive, and to my knowledge it is extremely hard to overdose on. If we somehow miraculously switched all opioid addicts to Ketamine overnight, we’d have 30,000+ more Americans alive on a yearly basis.

      Sometimes we have to weigh the pros with the cons. Pro: fewer suicides; Con: lots of people taking high doses of Ketamine on a daily basis (and likely living out an otherwise normal life). I know I am in favor a hell of a lot more for the pro than I am against the con, and if you don’t agree, I think your priorities are confused.

      • Hmmmm. So, perhaps we have a couple of therapeutic uses for this drug:
        1. suicide prevention;
        2. opioid addition treatment.

        Actually, it might be better to think of these as a couple of therapeutic CONTEXTS:
        1. a trial context where someone is having a crisis that might warrant an intervention;
        2. a persistant context where someone is abusing a very dangerous drug.

        Suicide and an acute episode of depression are examples of #1; illustrations of a possible open ended list of cases. The patient looks like he has a much higher than normal propensity to consider suicide; however, he denies that he is considering doing anything rash. Claims he hasn’t thought of suicide. Claims he has no plans to fly to Vegas and put it all on # 13. Maybe it makes sense to give this patient an “epipen” kind of dose of this stuff. We might suppose that in the majority of cases he never uses it or uses it and that use doesn’t contribute to a resolution of the problem. Fine. Conversely, it wouldn’t take a high percentages of successful uses (preventing suicide or leading to an ongoing course of treatment) to justify the approach.

        The opioid scenario is an example of #2. Assuming that this drug is useful for overcoming opioid withdrawal symptoms (or whatever it is that drives one to use opiates) then one has to figure the odds. If this patient’s self-treatment plan is to continue to buy heroin with fentanyl as heroin-helper then it’s only a matter-of-time until he dies of an OD. As risky as it is to prescribe him 7-doses/week, that risk might be lower than his self-treatment plan.

        As a drug that lends itself to obvious opportunities for abuse, we ought not consider marketing it aggressively. E.g., probably not imagine making it available OTC or simply by request of a pharmacist (as the flu vaccine is so available). Nevertheless, there are various drugs that lend themselves to abuse that are prescribed under carefully-controlled terms.

        In cases of context #1, the prescribing physician gives the patient 1 dose to take with him and follows the patient. If the problem dissipates without using the dose, the patient returns it to the doc and it’s disposed of. Little opportunity for much of this drug to leak into the black market.

        In cases of context #2, the patient will be a regular consumer (at least for a period of time). Much higher flow of doses; need for much tighter control.

    • Ketamine has a high potential for abuse precisely because it is so safe to use recreationally. Unlike other painkillers Ketamine doesn’t depress respiration or heartbeat. It’s used for surgery in same cases where people have allergies to other drugs.

      This is a drug that, like LSD, MDMA and a bunch of other drugs has shown great promise at treating a variety of “outside the box” ailments.(In fact MDMA was created to treat PTSD and does a wonderful job of it. LSD showed amazing potential in a lot of areas but was flat out shown effective in treating alcoholism.) Unfortunately government often claims to know best and squashes research by making it illegal as soon as they figure out that people are having fun with the substance in question. Check out the Consumer’s Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs to see studies on these various substances done before govt got involved.

      • Whew dude, I did a bunch of acid back in the 70’s, I was pretty spaced out. Even tho I wear a copper infused ANSI certified Tin Foil Hat I don’t think it fucked me up as bad as the meth.

      • The only time I tried MDMA was right before the DEA scheduled it in 1985. I had a wonderful time. I can see why it would be good for therapy. I really opened up. Not sure it was as fun as LSD though.

  3. The reason we “ignore” the stat, is not because it does not matter, but because it is not relevant to discussions about gun laws. And because it’s usually tossed out right after decrying rampant mass shootings or domestic murders, where it is doubly irrelevant. These people *would* off themselves otherwise, and the gun is an independent variable. Any other attempt to reference it in these discussions is an attempt to place blame for these deaths on gun owners at large.

    Now, what really is fascinating, is how the anti-gun camp consistently tries to ignore or downplay the amount of firearm murders and justified homicides involving gang violence. Toss in the obvious suicide-via-narcotics connection, and you have likely the bulk of all homicides there are, and the vast majority of ‘gun violence’ the anti-gun camp pretends to care about. If we’re all about actually finding a solution to violence, and not just trying to steal private property under moral pretenses, we would logically start with the largest cause/contributor and work our way toward law-abiding non-criminals from there. Instead, their proposals seem centered around specifically *not* addressing the gang/drug violence issue.

    • Don’t forget that they also VERY carefully avoid any discussion of the number of deaths from medical malpractice(e.i. killed by their own doctor), which absolutely dwarfs all firearms deaths, even with suicides lumped in(wrongfully).
      A MINIMUM of 250k/year versus 30K. For the math challenged, that is 8+ times(really probably closer to 15 times) the number of deaths by guns… EVEN INCLUDING suicides.
      IF the left actually cared about the dead they would start there, where their efforts would be a least 8 times more effective, and they would face no resistance, because nobody(not even a doctor), is going to publicly say that they support fatal doctor errors.
      Obviously, their actual agenda is something different…

  4. With leftist savages at the door trying to take away our firearms and deny us the right to protect the lives of our loved ones, we are expected to divert our energy and (limited) resources to the cause of the mentally ill? Count me out…but godspeed to Sir Quixote.

  5. Absolutely. We do not want any more gun related deaths than are absolutely unavoidable. There are signs people should pay attention to when a suicide is eminent. If someone you know even hints at not wanting to live any longer, take them seriously. Often someone wanting attention will use parasuicide : attempting suicide but not really wanting to die , rather it’s a cry to be heard or listened to. One can not be certain in any case , the person should be taken to the hospital and given a proper 3 day psych , evaluation. Do not ever play guessing games when a life is at stake. Don’t keep firearms in said persons reach. Due diligence , never ignore a plea for help. It can end badly. Psychological illness and hatred are a large part of why we the people of the gun, are in this mess right now. Its not an understatement to say where there is a will there is a way. Suicide by Leo for instance. Also note how many suicide by gun victims prefer not to go alone , so they take other innocents lives ,then take their own. Take it seriously if someone you know even speaks of suicide.


    There, fixed it.

    F em all.

  7. Great article! I’d just add here that a robust universal healthcare system would likely go a long way in reducing suicides overall (assuming it includes provisions for mental health) but that doesn’t jibe with the dominant right-wing ideology. Tribalism bites common gun owners in the ass from both sides.

    • ” I’d just add here that a robust universal healthcare system would likely go a long way in reducing suicides overall”

      It would be good to have some evidence that universal healthcare in this country would have any effect on suicides.

      Universal healthcare = government budget line item, with no priority over all other budget items. Look at UK. People are outraged that government has been cutting healthcare budget for the last two or three years…because government cannot sustain the budgets with current non-confiscatory taxation.

    • Insulating the consumer from direct exposure to prices problematically distorts any market and health care is no exception. Charity and healthcare are both very good things but should be kept separate. Healthcare issues need to be unclouded and exposed rather than further obscured by government intervention.

  8. Yes but kinda no too….

    Yes we should do what we can to help reduce the number of suicides.

    No we should not get caught up in the language of the anti-gunners in the process.

    Removing access to weapons does nothing to address the suicidal tendencies. Guns don’t cause suicide. Having guns or access to them does not increase the possibility of suicides because the gun is not cause, it is merely the tool.

    We are correct in discounting the suicide numbers because those suicides have nothing to do with any of the current or proposed legislation.

    When the discussion turns to how much additional funding is going to be directed to suicide preventing ideas then we can discuss the number.

  9. Who is this ‘common gun owner’ you speak of?

    Meant for frankm.

  10. Why does the fact that I’m a gun owner have ANYTHING to do with somebody else’s suicidal inclinations?

    Nobody has ever committed suicide with any of my guns, and there is zero evidence that anybody ever will.

    I just don’t buy into the theory that suicide is any more my problem than anyone else’s, just because I own guns and the guy who wants to make it my problem does not.

  11. Here’s a thought. When someone brings up the firearms suicide statistics, respond by saying that US suicide rates are actually unremarkable. The US is 12.6/ 100k. Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Japan, etc are all higher. Russia, Poland, and Latvia are a lot higher. So, we ought to work to help people in crisis, no doubt. However, we are not some outlier.


  12. Having dealt with the survivors of suicides in a professional capacity, I certainly am in favor of finding a way to reduce the number of suicides. On the other hand, it is highly hypocritical of the left to demonize suicide by firearm while they are actively campaigning to legalize assisted suicide. It’s almost enough to make you think it’s just another manifestation of hoplophobia.

    • Actually…..

      “Liberalism is a mental disorder, and it will kill us all.”
      – – M.Savage, radio host

        • Because wherever you go, there you are. It is simply not possible for one to run away from oneself.

      • Are you being a smart aleck, or do you really not get it?

        “When someone dies by suicide, research shows that at least 6 people are intimately traumatized by the death. Those who are directly affected include immediate family members, relatives, neighbors, friends, fellow students and/or co-workers. It is believed that the number of survivors of suicide loss in the U.S. reaches 5 million people.”
        Psychology Today

        • If a person is not at risk, is not a fatality, is not the intended target, is not injured by an event, that person is a bystander, not a survivor. Like the Florida incident, several students were off campus, home, in other parts of the campus, other parts of the building. Those students are not survivors. People left behind after a family death are noted as “survived by”, but that is not the true definition of “survivor”. It is a substitute for the more harsh, “left behind” (as if they were hoping to go along).

  13. Suicide removes people genetically prone to depression and suicide from the gene pool. Who am I to argue with Darwin?

      • The gene pool is very important. You don’t want to marry into a family, that has members who have killed themselves over several generations.

          • “Now a conservative believes in evolution?”

            Survival of the fittest is not synonymous with “evolution”. It is possible a predator could eliminate all competition, be the sole remaining specimen, and evolve no new organs or shape.

  14. First off, ownership of a firearm does not mean all “gun owners” are the same demographic.

    In general conversation, the term “gun owner”, is commonly used as shorthand for “law abiding gun owner”. The implication being the gun was purchased through lawful means and the owner is a responsible citizen.

    If you want to use a more literal definition of gun owner to mean anyone in possession of a firearm, then yes, criminals, mass shooters, police, or suicidal people are all gun owners.

    But you need to clarify your intended meaning or you will essentially be playing the Left’s game by trying to associate all lawful gun owners with criminals, mass shooters, and otherwise mentally ill in an effort to vilify lawful citizens.

  15. This is just my personal bugaboo with the firearms suicide stat and the claim that people “with a gun in the home” are more likely to commit suicide is that the overwhelming majority of suicides with guns are the result of people buying, borrowing, or stealing a gun for that purpose. Guns don’t magically make people want to kill themselves any more than they magically make people want to kill others. I remember reading that only 19% of suicide attempts are performed with a gun, it is only the effectiveness of that method that skews the numbers high.

  16. Reducing suicides is an admirable goal, but let’s not forget that we disincentivise people from seeking help by putting a huge stigma on it and ALSO restricting the rights of people who try to get help. Lest we not forget that should someone seek help for mental health issues voluntarily there are plenty of people who wish to permanently restrict their rights. How many people does that turn off from seeking treatment?

    • “Reducing suicides is an admirable goal,…”

      Specifically, why?

      When someone wants to checkout, why should we force them to remain in a state of being they made a conscious decision was intolerable? Why is it better for anyone to live in an “intolerable” situation? Why is it better for society? How selfish are we going to be?

        • As a retired health care professional, having dealt with many in crisis, I can assure you that psychiatry is far more dangerous to people than guns.

          Here are some terrific things that could be done to reduce suicide:

          End the war on drugs. End the war on people, the lust of so many to control the lives and property of others.

          Mind your own damned business.

        • I am specifically arguing:

          – Adults are free actors. They have a right to manage their own lives, including checking-out.

          – Once a person has been confronted with the cost to others (immediate family), and discounted the devastation, that is all the prevention that should be undertaken.

          – A person who is bent on just doing physical damage to themselves (drugs, cutting, irresponsible high-risk behavior, that sort of thing) should be permanently institutionalized (these “cries for help” are not routinely overcome, and the person remains a threat – maybe simply using the situation to just control others)

          I know first-hand (two suicides in the family) that once a person decides that suicide is the only avenue for dealing with unrelenting anguish, that person has made a shift of reality in their mind. From that new vantage point, the standard of “logic” (talk therapy?) is changed to something that outsiders cannot grasp. To the person insistent on suicide, no other logic manes any sense. The mindset of the suicide is unassailable. The anguish (situation) will never end. The suicide sees only two possible outcomes: bearing the unbearable, or death. Every thought is filtered through that binary condition. Even when seeming to relent, the though never goes away.

          If you would be free, you must allow all others to be free. Once you begin imposing your notions of “good” on others, you cannot morally object to others imposing their standards on you.

          Free is free, or it isn’t.

  17. As many others have said the real myth is that all people who commit suicide with a gun are a part of the gun community. Correlation only means two things are connected and it’s up to us to use additional factors to come to any logical conclusion. From what I have seen guns do not make people more likely to commit suicide, people who intend to commit suicide seek out guns. This is mostly because of the myths that self-inflicted gunshot wounds kill quickly and painlessly.

    What isn’t neatly packaged for infographics is the number of suicides committed with rental guns. In every gun range in my state one simple policy pretty much eliminated suicides with rental guns; requiring every rental gun to be attended by at least two people. That means you can’t rent a gun alone and suicidal people most likely will not commit the act with someone they know around, and random people most likely would not agree to helping someone rent a gun.

  18. No actually we don’t. That attitude is the same as those who say the US should be running around the world acting as some sort of world peace cop. It isn’t welcome and it isn’t possible, much less practical.

    The antis claim the trigger pulls the finger, but no one with half a brain believes it.

    • Even the antis don’t believe it, that’s why they never state it thataway. Instead they just ACT “as though” it’s that way, without ever stating such. They are deluded and foolish, but they aren’t stupid. Exactly like the anti who wrote this article. He might mean every word of it. If he does, he’s deluded. But not stupid.

  19. This premise of this article sounds a little leftY loosey to me. Of course I care about suicide and prevention but not all suicides involving a gun are done by 2A supporters. I use rope to tie down cargo, do I now have to actively prevent all hangings or strangulations? Suicide is a problem but to suggest that we as people of the gun need to do more is suggesting that I should support extreme risk protection orders or back ground checks that limit people from their 2A rights because they were depressed at some point in their life. This is a slippery slope. I care about preventing people from committing suicide in all forms but I am unwilling to deny or potentially limit anyone from exercising any of their rights. There will always be suicide no matter how many hotlines, prevention outreach etc is out there…the human condition cannot be controlled.

  20. I too agree that this is an area that we gun owners have failed. We like to immediately point out that sucides account for 66% of gun deaths and after a mass shooting we like to look for the mental health connection. Yet we have done nothing to make end roads to correct these issues. I for one would be more than happy to support a pro gun group that donated to suicide prevention or mental illness detection. I would also hold any firearm or firearm accessory company in highest regard if they did the same. I was very happy to see that Indiana’s suicide prevention group had a table at the last Indy 1500 gun and knife show and I did donate while I was there. I just wish pro gun groups and manufactures would start donating to give the pro gun community a good name. It is harder to convince the general public that no good comes out of guns if millions in mental health detection, education, and suicide prevention could be pointed to.

  21. This is a spot where I think we should be focused. There are a few reasons for that.

    First off, I think that people who are terminally ill and want to die on their terms should be another category. I can’t blame anyone for wanting a humane death as the person they are on their own terms instead of as a vegetable, wasted away or in horrible pain.

    Second, I think that as a group we value life a little more than the grabbers do. Why do people carry in the first place? It may be to defend self and family, but it means they understand the fragility of life.

    Third, it’s the easiest way to reduce gun deaths. Mass shootings will actually get the press but this is where the lions share of the action is. Being so large it’s likely far easier to snare suicidal people than mass shooters.

    Fourth, a lot of mass shooters have a history of suicidal tendencies or symptoms. Although hard to prove, there’s a decent chance we could eliminate a few of the mass shootings as well.

    The question becomes where we go with this. It’s hard to actually have this discussion without being concerned about rights getting taken away, stigmas being attached to them. Bob Owens strikes me as a great example.

  22. I never seriously thought of offing myself. But I have an occasionally mentally ill 40 year old son who might. I can’t stop him. Don’t know where he is at this time…all this to say if folks want to kill themselves I can’t stop them. I can pray to GOD they won’t but as mentioned old men are the biggest # of suicides. I imagine a huge number use a 38 tucked in a drawer to end their existence. I am NOT responsible for anyone not in my immediate family. Like the lunatic who murdered in Tennessee or the punk at Parkland or Las Vegas or Southerland Springs. Individual responsibility is a thing…

  23. Let me be clear – I m NOT suicidal! But I can understand some people’s reason to do so. I am a Libertarian, I believe that within certain parameters, we should be free to take our lives, if we are terminal and in great pain. Many states do not allow suicide or assisted suicide. My worst fear is to be paralyzed in mortal pain for a long period of weeks or months.
    A friend worked as a maintenance mechanic at a Catholic hospital and on the floor where the cancer patients were, he was not allowed to bring his tool belt, just the hand tool he thought he would need. Patients were in such pain that they would use a razor knife or a screwdriver to end it right there.
    People that believe in gun rights should also believe in other rights, also.

  24. 1) That report, done by NBC, was in itself a summary of a study, which calls into question its accuracy. I would like what Doctors (?) that did the study actually said.
    2) If treatment with ketamine gets approved (could take years)the patient would 1st need to admit they were suicidal, most do not before their 1st attempt, then seek treatment. There are an estimated 1.4 million attempts a year most not seeking help after attempt. 90% of those attempting suicide by firearm are successful whereas only 2% are successful by poisoning(includes drugs) and 34% falls from high places.
    Ketamine facts: It induces a trance-like state while providing pain relief, sedation, and memory loss.Common side effects include psychological reactions as the medication wears off. These reactions may include agitation, confusion, or hallucinations. Elevated blood pressure and muscle tremors are relatively common, while low blood pressure and a decrease in breathing are less so. Spasms of the larynx may rarely occur. Ketamine has been classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist but its mechanisms are not well understood as of 2017. Ketamine is considered to safe, but they do not understand how it works?

  25. i live in australia and here mental health is one of the factors that will prevent you getting a gun “legally”. since 96 suicides with firearms have dropped significantly, however despite “better” mental health programs being put in place pretty much at the same time suicides have risen quite a bit. so also has crime across the board. one friend of mine however maintained his firearms license even after a suicide attempt due to constant extreme pain that cripples him. what he said to the psych when they asked why he had not chosen to use a firearm is why. he used and overdose of his pain meds even though he had access to firearms and when asked he said because the shooting sports is one of the few things i can still do that i enjoy and i dont want to give any more ammo to the antis who wish to take it away from those of us who do enjoy it. i am just over being in unbearable pain the whole time that saps all enjoyment out of most everything i like to do and leaves me unable to do most of the things i enjoy doing. this happened over 10 years ago and he is still alive and shooting today and the doctors have since started taking him more seriously about the level of pain he is in. i myself suffer constant pain (though nowhere near the level he does most of the time unless it goes out really bad) from slipped discs and i have butted heads with doctors since i was 21 (i turn 44 today, DAMN GOOD CALIBRE 🙂 ) when i had a horse accident where i was hung up and dragged and they constantly claim it is only muscular yet i see a chiro who gets them back in alignment and i am in much less pain to almost no pain within 1 to 2 visits depending on the severity.

    IHMO most of mainstream medicine knows jack shit about backs and i have come across so many doctors who cant even diagnose a chest infection let along much else that i have lost pretty much all faith in mainstream medicine

  26. I’m rural. The nearest large town has a pop of 1200, two suicides a few weeks apart( info for ratio statistics) One death by gunshot, one death by hanging. Suicides and guns are a problem, it’s much easier to grab a gun in a manic depression then to chain yourself to the railroad tracks. One truly committed to suicide can not be stopped, behind padded cells or not. Guns do make rash decisions of life or death easier. The availability of firearms is and is not the problem.

  27. I’ve had two friends who killed themselves. One jumped off a tall building and the other hung himself with a wire. A fvcking wire.

    There are many countries with low or no civilian gun ownership and high suicide rates, yet the people who want to die find ways to off themselves.

    Gun owners are not indifferent to suicide, but we are realistic. This post, while well-intentioned, is not realistic.

  28. Guns are just a means to an end. I know this, because I personally have depression. Seriously, though, who wouldn’t? The world is going to shit, and few people can change that. I have a medical condition that keeps me reliant on pills. Pills that will undoubtedly be in short supply, should shit hit the fan. But yeah, I’ve considered either going out to the middle of nowhere and becoming coyote food, or going out in a blaze of glory. Neither option seems good, however, because I would be hurting those I love, most of all. Perspective keeps me from offing myself.

  29. I don’t think “Powerful Mind-Numbing Drugs Found to Make Sh*tty Life More Bearable” is as revolutionary a finding as it’s being presented to be.

  30. Perhaps it is an important statistic to reduce but that is again mental health an something to seriously consider is why we don’t have asylums like we used to back in the day. The best way to reduce guns deaths is to end the root cause the war on drugs.

    • The “end the war on drugs” argument is as simple minded as the gun grabbers argument against guns.. There are many countries with the same drug laws that have much lower murder rates. The root cause of America’s high murder rate is the large number of fatherless young men raised in multi generation welfare homes. The rising crime rates in the UK can be attributed to tge same problem of young men raised in fatherless welfare homes. Legalizing drugs doesn’t change that. The mafia didn’t go away with the end of prohibition and rapid rise in the murder rate occured in the decade before Prohibition.

  31. After looking at the suicide statistics it shows that older men who experienced divorce are twice as likely to commit suicide then those men that are in stable marriages and that children of divorced parents have a higher rate of suicide and suicide attempts than those children from stable two parent families.

    The other significant statistic is that those who are religious are much less likely to commit suicide than those who are atheist and agnostic. One statistic that was given is that Latter Day Saints are seven times less likely to commit suicide than those who are atheistic.

    This makes sense because those that are atheistic don’t believe in an afterlife and if this present life is too depressing or psychologically or physically painful, well, why not commit suicide?

    Where as most religions teach that there is an afterlife and that committing suicide, is a sin and will pay a heavy spiritual price.

    There you go. If we want to significantly lower the suicide rate among the general population, reinforce spiritual beliefs systems and commit to stable, two parent families.

  32. This will sound callous but we need to better educate the weak minded on why committing suicide with a firearm is a TERRIBLE idea. (Ignoring for a moment the fact that it hurts the cause). First-HUGE mess that your loved ones now get to see and burn in their minds forever. Second-plenty of folks get shot and live…those that do sometimes face disfigurement or paralysis. Pistols are not a magical death ray that instantly kills. Third-if you don’t die immediately, you will feel quite a bit of about sucking on the god damned muffler pipe next time or google proper and more civilized suicide techniques instead of contributing to the destruction of one of the founding core philosophies of our (once) great nation. Weak minded selfish fools.

  33. I have depression too but I found CBD oil really helps cut down the number of bad days I have. As for the drug used in this study, well of course they’re gonna love life!!! They’re doped outta their minds on a freaking anesthetic!! Let’s be realistic here this isn’t the purpose the drug was designed for but merely a side effect oh and it’s also pretty addictive so it probably ain’t the best drug to use for this particular mental issue.

    • I could detect no effect at all from CBD oil alone. I kinda assumed it worked best synergistically with things like THC. It is good to hear that it work for you though.

  34. What’s the problem? Let’s just make suicide illegal. Do I have to think of everything?

    Seriously, the suicide rate has no bearing on our Second Amendment rights, except that leftists add the suicides to the homicides to deceive the gullible. People who want to commit suicide will do so one way or another. How can anyone prevent them? What penalty can anyone propose to deter them, other than the threat of punishment in an afterlife?

  35. So, I just looked at a graph comparing the suicide rate across various first-world countries (, the United States is fairly low and the overall trend is declining. The top causes of suicide are depression, anxiety and mental health disorders. The top causes of depression and anxiety are lack of economic opportunity and interpersonal relationships.

    Probably the best way to prevent suicide is to do everything a progressive hates- go to church, don’t abuse drugs, be aware when others are going through a bad time and try to help out (even just to listen), and get out for some fun with friends and family on a regular basis. Ironically, if we could get more people involved in the sport of shooting, it would probably reduce suicides. There’s nothing like a change in perspective and mastering a new skill to teach resiliency.

    The best way for us to preserve our rights is to take a friend who’s never been shooting out to a range. While you may not make a convert, you’ll at least inoculate them against some of the worst anti-gun stupidity.

  36. Of the 30,000 or so annual deaths by gun shot, two thirds are suicides. We, the People of the Gun, ironically take little interest in this statistic, brushing it off by mentioning the “substitution effect.” That without guns, these people would have found other means to end their lives. This is a mistake on our part.

    And that they have a right to take their life, gun or any other method. What’s the leftists say? My body my right? Right???

    First, assuming this doesn’t change, our community of gun owners is depleted by 20,000 members annually. Besides the obvious tragedy of 20,000 lives lost, our side loses that many supporters in the voting booth.

    Then they shouldn’t complain about it. Unless those 20,000 aren’t all ours. Maybe they are gang bangers, or first time gun buyers looking to end it all. Debatable.

    It is in OUR OWN interest to take the lead in the public health issue of general suicide prevention.

    Almost absolutely in-addressable. Certainly so in policy and law unless you want to go full tyrant. This is a cultural problem with existentialism, depression, nihilism, the the pains of old age, etc. What is your solution??? “Please guys! Don’t kill yourself with guns, you are affecting gun rights!”

    Club drug spray ketamine can stop suicidal thoughts, study finds.

    Something tells me this isn’t the solution we should be looking for.

    Imagine if this, or some other method of intervention were found to be so remarkably effective. Imagine if we, the People of the Gun, were to take a lead position in the search for and PROMOTION of some such a remarkably effective treatment.

    Nah. Gun rights activists are best knowledgeable about and for – guns and gun rights. That should probably be our role. Despite the gun control crowd pushes the narrative that guns are causing suicides, the majority of people still think that is insane. Most people, most of them, are not stupid. They can see behind the agenda and they are generally for or against it. They created a specific nonsensical category called “gun violence.” They blame guns for the actions of people. But everyone really knows what they want. They want all guns to disappear. They want gun ownership banned. And most are either for or against that. And the suicide statement is just another statement to point the finger at guns, but nobody really believes the gun caused the suicide. But they roll with that, because they want disarmament. So I think we should stick to the facts and our expertise (not medicine).

    Why not a Bob Owens Memorial Campaign to Prevent Suicide?

    Because someday I might want to check out a bit early myself. When i’m old and decrepit, can’t wipe my own a**, and every breath I take is painful, then maybe it’s time. And who the F are you to say otherwise? Granted, I don’t think i’d use a gun, because a gun is about the worst method there is.

  37. How many gun owners die from “lifestyle related” deaths annually? 400k? How many of the 300k deaths associated with smoking were gun owners? If you can afford a gun, you can afford a gym membership, and being physically fit will reduce a lot of the symptoms of depression, and reduce the odds of suicide. Also, your gun is tactical, but are you? It can run for weeks without cleaning, but can you run two miles?

    • Most privately owned guns could run a life time without being cleaned, cause they don’t get shot. For most Americans freedom means never having to see there dick. What % of the population do you think could even run one mile uninterrupted, at say a 10 minute pace? Probably 5% at most, maybe less? You could make the “fitness over tactics / equipment” argument here til your blue in the face, don’t waste your breath, no one here want’s to hear it, gun forums are about bitching and fantasy. The apparently not so obvious irony of suicide prevention is that most people are committing some slow form of it every day of there life.

      • I love how this sight randomly assigned my comment a stock photo of some shlubby white male, overly quaffed, thirty something, red tie wearing, K street D.C. lobbyist douche bag. Here, let me send you a linked in request. Bwhahah.

  38. “Don’t forget that they also VERY carefully avoid any discussion of the number of deaths from medical malpractice(e.i. killed by their own doctor),…”

    Deaths from firearms are number 101 on the hit parade of the causes of death. Brother-in-law says that doesn’t matter because the other 100 causes are not killing hundreds of children in schools each year. (I did get BIL to back off the idea that thousands of school children are killed in mass shootings each year).

  39. Come on guys. The author has an excellent point. Not only is it a REAL issue that needs to be addressed, but it could potentially help us. If suicides decrease, then suicides by firearm decrease, it’s a no-brainer.

    But even still, too many of the comments here are implying that caring about your fellow man is not your problem. Or the real problem is white people are bullied, or what about those Mexicans.

    Then there’s the crowd that has to chime in and make it a partisan issue. If caring about others is political, then I am sorry, you’re already too far down the rabbit hole.

    THIS is why gun owners are so easily made to look like idiots in the press. Because we act like it.

    Do you know what helps prevent suicide? A robust mental health system. Do you know how every other country in the world pulls this off? With a government funded and managed mental health system. That right there is why gun owners don’t care about suicide, because if they were to objectively follow the data, they would have to admit that something evil and Obama-ish would work.

    Gun owners are more concerned about being right than making a difference. This is why we will lose our 2nd amendment rights.

    But what do I know, I am just that moderately liberal NFA owning, CCW permit carrying, masters in public health candidate who actually spends time researching this stuff. I must have missed all of those Fox News facts.

    • i agree and disagree with you on this. yes we do need to look at ways we can help those who are in need with mental health issues however coming from a country that has govt funded health care i can tell you it is not the shining beacon of hope you think. since the gun laws came in here in 96 there has been a major push on the mental health side of things and while we have seen a major drop in suicides with guns, the suicide rate has gone up since then as have tax rates and also cost of living while the wages have gone up a fraction of that. this means just surviving is harder than it was let alone getting ahead and this is one of the greatest causes of depression. other mental health issues not so much as they are more to do with genetic factors, enviromental toxins (heavy metals in particular which i mentioned being in vaccines and our water supply). lead is another well known heavy metal to cause mental problems as is mercury and aluminum (usually associated with Alzheimer’s). the best way i see it is to slash the size of govt drastically, all the way to the bone and make the only taxes available to the federal govt at the very least import and export duties only and set a fixed maximum for that even.

      a big part of the problem of govt controlled anything is it is always very top heavy, inefficient and ineffective. these systems are always touted in the media as being effective but go to any country that has them and you will see people dying waiting for “free” surgery or suffering extreme pain constantly because doctors are too afraid to prescribe the pain killers they actually need to simply make the pain bearable and to where they can function. then if you actually look at how much taxes actually are used to prop up that system and it is many times the expense of what a purely private system cost to run. a purely private system also tends to have doctors that care enough to help people in their local community that cant afford to pay and to better themselves as the will get paid more due to higher demand for their services as well where a govt system the doctors get paid the same good or bad and there is no incentive to be better at what they do.
      govt mandated medicine is not good any way you look at it and that includes unneeded “medicines” being mandated. look at europe now where while it is a govt run system and you have anything that without treatment will be terminal and they tend to euthanize as that is cheaper

      • When you mentioned the heavy metals in vaccines, you illustrated that your grasp of medicine is fleeting at best. We have a mostly private system in the U:S: and we literally do not have enough mental health resources for the amount of patients that require them. It’s because mental health is not a money maker, so there goes the free market argument.

        We live in a country where our senior citizens have been known to choose either their medications, or food, because they can’t afford both. But let’s keep drumming up that fear about the big bad government pulling the plug.

        There has not been one single documented case of a government mandated euthanasia ANYWHERE in the developed world. Cite your source, or stop spreading lies.

        Here’s an idea. How about every time a Republican law maker says “it’s not a gun issue, it is a mental health issue” they take a billion dollars from a company that makes high speed low drag toilet seats for the military and put it towards mental health care.

        As gun owners who love to hide behind that mental health boogeyman every time there is a mass shooting, it is time to put your damn money where your mouth is.

        What’s the worst that could happen? Less people die? What a terror.

        • i agree as far as cutting back on military spending by the federal govt…. as i said cut the federal govt back to the bone. “A well armed militia, being necessary to the maintenance of a free state”, shows that a army of by and for the people and funded by the people themselves (with maybe a little training assistance from their local state rather than federal) is what was intended in the first place. that way it is a force that can be used against govt without fear of court martial for insubordinance to the govt and cannot be ordered overseas without just cause being that the people as a whole are the army and the controllers of such. A) much less expensive than a standing army as there are no wages as it is voluntary, B) govt control of anything always leads to massive corruption and abuse and if you look all the way back through human history that has always, ALWAYS ended up the case. no matter what restrictions you put on govt they always try to find a loophole to get around those restrictions and it is only eternal vigilance and a to use the term in the constitution “a Well Regulated Militia” being in the sense used here, well oiled or functioning well ready to stand against any and all govt incursion on liberty of any sort

    • “The author has an excellent point. Not only is it a REAL issue that needs to be addressed, but it could potentially help us. If suicides decrease, then suicides by firearm decrease, it’s a no-brainer. ”

      Two observations:
      – The conclusion that an overall decrease in suicide must include suicide by firearm presumes facts not in evidence. There is nothing to indicate reduction in an activity rises or falls uniformly in all its components.

      – No matter if the suicide-by-gun rate falls to zero solely due to efforts of POTG, such an outcome would not “potentially help us”. The lefties are literally mentally ill. There was an episode not long ago where a big philanthropy organization (think it was a medical effort) refused a $25million donation from Koch Brothers because it was determined the brothers were only trying to buy themselves some good publicity, not trying to actually help the organization (as if the dollars would buy less benefit because of the motivation). Likewise, POTG would be accused of trying to buy good press, not save lives.

  40. Suicide is a serious and sad problem. But it is not a gun problem, the gun is the preferred tool in the US. It is a person problem no different than the gang killings that make up the majority of murders. And places like China, South Korea, Russia, Japan (and many European countries) that have very tight and limited access to firearms have higher suicide rates than the US. In Japan for example hanging, then jumping from high places are the top 2 methods.

    Suicide is a societal issue, not just gun owner issue. As such much like the gang violence problem, it needs to be addressed as such. At least in my area here most gun stores have done training of counter employees to try and identify potential suicidal gun buyers. And there are many ways to speak to the number of gun deaths when folks include suicide in those numbers. A suicide is that, and not a gun violence death in the same manner as murder. You will never make the left happy unless we as gun owners all commit suicide allowing the left then to have eliminated all firearms. So there is no point over thinking how to argue these numbers with the left.

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