Facing the Gun Culture’s Biggest Problem: Suicide

suicide prevention hotline

By Kevin Perkins

It was a big day for the small gun shop I worked at. A little over six months in, the newer, more upscale location had been a boon to business. That morning we came in several hours before opening to film our first TV commercial.

Filming was going well even though we had to politely shoo away customers who thought we were open for business a little early. My coworker Mark had just finished a take when the hustle and bustle was broken by a gentle sob. An older woman had entered the store unnoticed in the middle of the take.

She was wearing a light jacket and carrying a bundle of tissues in her hand. She walked up to Mark slowly and in between sobs she asked him, in a thick Russian accent, if we had sold a gun to her son. He had shot himself last night and she wanted to find out where he bought the firearm and when.

Mark had been caught off guard by the situation. We had worked together for nearly four years at that point and neither of us had seen anything like that. He looked up the man’s name in our retail system and found that we had not sold him the gun. She said ‘thank you’ and left, heading for the next gun shop.

Nearly a year later she came back with a neighbor and a small cardboard box that said ‘evidence’ on every side. Inside was a 9mm compact pistol (I’ll refrain from specifying make or model) with a stainless slide. Speckles of dried blood where still on the sides of it. She wanted to sell the pistol her son used to kill himself.

This time I was the one caught off guard. I politely told them that we couldn’t take it. The neighbor asked why. At the time I couldn’t think of a convenient excuse. My mind had gone blank. “I’m sorry we just can’t.” “It’s because my son killed himself with it,” the woman said and she begun to cry. I recommended another shop and they left.

Suicide is the number one cause of firearm-related deaths making up about two-thirds of gun-related deaths. Suicide is the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about. According to the CDC, in 2017 a total of 39,773 people died as a result of firearms, 23,854 were suicides. Surprisingly, when gun control arguments arise, suicide is a subject rarely brought up even by gun control advocates. That’s because it falls into the unspoken territory of mental illness.

The hard truth for us gun owners is that while more guns lead to less crime, they also lead to higher rates of successful suicide. This is due to several reasons. The first is the finality and speed of a gun suicide. With a quick squeeze of a trigger the suicidal individual is almost guaranteed the outcome they intend. They have no time to change their mind or be discovered before death as in an asphyxiation, pill or bleeding out suicide.

The damage is immediate and almost always irreversible. That’s oddly appealing to someone who wants to bring their suffering to end. Unlike a falling death, a firearm suicide can be done in the comfort of your own home with a decreased chance of anyone intervening.

No one really has a good solution to this problem even though it’s by far the biggest problem in regards to firearm deaths. Mental health issues are taboos in the public’s mind and people committing suicide are often seen as ‘cowards’ or ‘taking the easy way out.’ The best solution would be encouraging those with mental health issues to come forward and seek help before harming themselves. Often many people hide their pain, won’t accept help and are lost.

We as gun owners need to step forward and pick up the slack to help prevent firearm suicide. It’s not our responsibility, and we have no obligation to, but I believe it is our duty. We buy guns to protect ourselves, our loved ones and, in extreme circumstances, strangers in need. It’s in our blood to want to protect others.

How can we make a difference? There are several steps we can take. First is to protect yourself. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open and reachable 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255. If you or a loved one is have feelings or thoughts of suicide, please call them. The folks there are a wealth of hope in your time of need and can direct you to a helpful mental health professional near you.

Next, protect your family. Teens and kids are very good at hiding their feelings, even from their parents. Make sure your firearms are properly secured so that your children can’t access them without adult supervision. Make sure keys or lock combinations aren’t easily accessible. Safes and secure cabinets can be had relatively inexpensively. Small pistol lock boxes allow quick access to guns to minimize the trade-off between security from juvenile access and access in an emergency.

Third, I would like to see more involvement from the gun store owners. At the bare minimum, having posters or pamphlets at your gun shop to help spread awareness.

An idea I have discussed with my former coworkers is that of gun shops providing “mental health storage” of firearms for those going through a personal crisis. One thing that many gun owners share is a general mistrust of the government when it comes to our guns.

I’d like to see shops given legal protection to hold firearms that have been voluntarily surrendered by someone who wants help until the owner has resolved their issues or to have them easily transfer the firearms to a family member or friend. That would make it easier for someone to get help without the worry of governmental confiscation at just the cost of a background check.

As an ardent gun owner I have argued and fought against gun control for years. None of these are foolproof solutions. However if we as a community can come together and make a dent in firearm suicides by raising awareness, storing guns properly, and seeking help, it will show that unlike gun control advocates, we can make a real difference.

comments

  1. avatar former water walker says:

    And over 3 years later nothing much has changed. It’s worse. And it’s STILL not the gun industries fault!!!

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    I would strongly advise against calling the suicide hotline. Numerous reports of people who had their doors kicked in by the cops and dragged to a mental hospital, injected with god knows what against their will and came out worse than when they went in. The real problem isn’t guns or suicide, it’s how we treat those who have mental illness. Doctors are inexperienced and liberally prescribe the wrong medication, one example being antipsychotics that treat schizophrenia to people who do not have schizophrenia, the word being “off-label”. I was prescribed seroquel and the side effects ruined my life, never needed it in the first place but stayed on it for five years. Coming off of it took months and I’m still suffering side effects. Astra Zeneca paid the department of justice more than $500m in fines for off-label marketing and failure to disclose side effects. Money is what keeps the mental health system inept and unqualified.

  3. avatar Shire-man says:

    “Firearm suicide” is about as disingenuous as “gun violence.”
    Does the architect culture fret over jumpers? Auto manufacturer culture concern itself with exhaust suckers? Supermarket culture obsess with clearer drinkers and pill poppers?
    Besides, my body my choice.

    You start in with a well-intentioned helping hand and that gets interpreted as an admission of guilt. Suddenly you’re doubling down on “I just really want to help” and you’re digging the “it’s all my fault and I’m evil” hole faster and faster.

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      All valid points IMO and I agree.

      Sounds cold, but it is what it is.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        it’s not cold at all and I agree 100%. You (not you Manse) have a relationship boundary problem, if you start taking responsibility for stuff outside your control. Suicide is not a “gun owner”, “gun culture”, or “gun industry” problem. If you (not directed at you Manse) want to take responsibility for that, then that is your business. Don’t speak on my behalf and say I’m responsible for somebody else’s life/death decision because I own a gun.

    2. avatar Kendahl says:

      Many fatal single car accidents where the only occupant is the driver aren’t accidents.

  4. avatar George says:

    Guns do equal money – sometimes the gun used may be worth a large amount that the survivors will need, plus it is part of the estate. A friend who was executor for another friend had to force the police to return the antique firearm another friend offed himself with . Guy was fading fast(Alzheimer’s) and just did not want to be around to completely lose it. In most states the police do have to return deceaseds property, but I expect a few guns end up in somebody else’s collection .

  5. avatar Nurse Don says:

    https://open.spotify.com/episode/60jUrEiYL4cdUXpNINkvb1?si=t0nfCmFKSZSdemfGDkUA0w Listen to this guy. A few minutes in he talks about his dad committing suicide and still owns guns.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      I don’t get it. What’s your point?

      If you have a gun, you may commit suicide with a gun. If you don’t have a gun, you may commit suicide without a gun. If we all get rid of our guns, then we all collectively commit suicide.

  6. avatar Frank M. says:

    Great post. I’m sure you’re going to catch flak in the comments here but I appreciate you writing this up.

    I’d add another bullet point to your list: Universal Healthcare with robust mental health services would go a long way into getting people the help they need.

    1. avatar My2cents says:

      Actually in my opinion what is needed more than anything else is access to more mental health providers & treatment centers. In my state there’s an extremely long waiting list to get a bed in a facility that can treat either mental health or substance abuse. It’s so bad that people have to go out of state to get treatment.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        Nope, this doesn’t even begin to go far enough up-stream. Building more tax payer funded bureaucracy is pretty much never the answer. Just curiously, do you know what the number one correlate is for Poverty, Going to Prison, Drug Abuse, and a whole host of other problems is? ===> DING! DING! DING! Fatherless homes, kids who grow up without a mother and a father who are still together living in the home. If we are going to attempt to “solve” a problem, let’s at least identify a problem worth solving instead of throwing more money into a hopelessly corrupt system that to date has had absolutely no positive impact on the issue at hand.

        1. avatar My2cents says:

          Just wow Jason. I never said that it needed to be an increased bureaucracy. Mental health treatment centers can, and a lot of them are, privately funded. While the conditions you do mention do contribute to increase ppriso populations there is a lot more people who had happy and healthy childhoods that turn to drugs and/or alcohol later in life.. Suicide is a tragedy no matter what other commenters may think. There is nothing inherently wrong in providing more treatment options.

        2. avatar Jason says:

          Yeah… tell me about all of those private non bureaucratic treatment centers that help all those poor people that turn to drugs later in life…

          http://www.insurancefraud.org/IFNS-detail.htm?key=16920

        3. avatar my2cents says:

          That’s some interesting logic you are using Jason. Because some facilities are abusing the system then no new facilities should be built because they will abuse the system as well. Isn’t that the same type of logic that the anti-gunners use against us? Because some people use firearms to intentionally harm people then all gun owners are people who have yet to intentionally harm people as well.

          Just because some people abuse the system doesn’t mean you throw the system away. You work with people to fix the problems. That requires cooperation which is a foreign concept to most internet commenters. By your logic we should eliminate the comment section of every internet website because of the abusive behavior of some commenters.

    2. avatar Ron says:

      Where’s all the money for universal healthcare going to come from?

      Did you suddenly find a country that’s going to defend us and the ocean for free so we don’t need a military anymore, like Europe?

      Because that’s how Europe pays for theirs. By sucking it off the US tax payer.

    3. avatar BOhio says:

      Wrong, and wrong. Government-provided and mandated healthcare, aka socialist medicine, is a failure. It costs more, it attracts less talented care-givers, and it yields inferior results. (Other than those things, I guess it is a good idea. Please…)

      As to this article, the writer is perhaps well-meaning, but the road to hell is paved with same. I would bet that nobody who reads this has more personal family experience with suicide than I do. It’s a terrible thing, and affects everybody who knew and cared about the person. However, it’s absolutely NOT a gun culture issue.

      Whether the person lost to suicide chooses to die by gunshot, poison, or hanging, it is a tragedy. And I know of what I speak, and each of those, well, methods.

      There are delusional people in San Francisco who installed barriers to try to prevent people from jumping off the Golden Gate bridge. These are, for the most part, the very same people who demand the ‘right’ to abortion. (Ideally, that government — meaning those of us who pay taxes — will provide for ‘free’.)

      The Gun Culture’s biggest problem is not suicide. and in fact that issue is not even worth discussing, any more than Rosie O’Donnell’s biggest problem is her spoon. The Gun Culture’s biggest problem is the government forgetting that the people are in charge. And the Gun Culture’s equally big problem is the people who vote for such government thuggery, because they fear personal responsibility and thus loathe the people who embrace life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    4. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

      Everyone is free to seek whatever health options they need. Universal healthcare just means you want me to pay for yours as well as my own. No, i do me, you do you.

  7. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    If a person want’s to commit suicide,they will accomplish it no matter the tool or device.

    1. avatar 9x39 says:

      Affirm. I was a sideways witness to a suicide by firearm when I was a young child. Playing outside at the time, 2 houses down, I heard the blast from the shotgun. Known of, and seen a few since, some much more personal to me. Nothing would dissuade those I knew personally, nothing. They were crying out for help, but adamantly refused in all three to accept what they plead for.

      I probably don’t have to explain the feeling of helplessness the aftermath leaves you with. The reality: There is nothing you can do. If they are determined to end it, they will by whatever means they can. Blaming oneself, an inanimate object, or method they used is a red herring, & otherwise part of a larger overall existential fallacy.

      As to the author, I have to tell you to get over yourself. It, even in the most personal of instances, it was never about you. If it were about anything but the most selfish of reasons, they would never have inflicted that pain on those ones who cared for them. That is the 800 lb. gorilla that even you aren’t talking about.

      Penalization of the rest of us who had nothing to do with it, even of those who only obliquely interacted with the situation, is beyond unacceptable. I see what you’re doing, even if you do not. What would be your recommendation, a battery of mental exams before on purchases a weapon? What about periodic mental inspections to ensure you’re still capable of being “trusted” with a weapon. When should they take place, under whose color of authority, and by whom should they be administered? Finally, who enforces those findings, and by what method would you advocate? Seeing any parallels to the Soviet model for dealing with dissident’s here, or must I draw the picture more clearly?

      Do you even understand your own slippery slope? I think you do not. Or, at least I hope you don’t. Because the alternate is that what you advocate for, is the existence of what is more commonly called “Red Flag” laws. That dog don’t hunt, period.

  8. avatar D Wildstar says:

    I am not sure suicide is the gun industry’s biggest problem. suicide tends to happen with non-kids. the real issue seems to be the over-hyped mass shootings, particularly when its in a school, or young kids shooting their faces off when dad isn’t home. In none of these cases is it the “gun’s fault”, but those events-as infrequent as they are in a nation of 300m people-seem to be far worse for introducing new knee-jerk, feel good, ineffective gun legislation. Just ask Australia. Or New Zealand.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I’m not so sure about that “non-kids” line. A high school classmate had her (seriously beautiful) 15 year old daughter convert herself to a vegetable with a firearm, and her 12-year-old son successfully hang himself 5 days later. A coworker of my wife had her 12-year-old daughter commit suicide by hanging while in a mental facility lockdown for suicidal tendencies, she had been attempting suicide for 4 years. That is the majority of experiences with suicide for me, and none over 15.

  9. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    Here’s another issue that involves combat vets and the military.

    No one who cares about their ability to own and shoot firearms is going anywhere near ‘mental hygiene’. That’s what we called it in the Army. Not sure what other services call it, but PTSD gets flags put in your medical file. Even if a soldier just wants to talk about something it can end up having a negative effect.

    From what I’ve read, statistically service members have a higher suicide rate than the norm.

    Many go untreated/cared for because of this.

  10. avatar Biatec says:

    “The hard truth for us gun owners is that while more guns lead to less crime, they also lead to higher rates of successful suicide” Stopped reading. I don’t believe that. Where is your proof? In a free society suicide is not illegal.

    I hate to be the reality hammer. It’s a freakin choice. If you want to help people who are unhappy with life start by deregulating medicine and make it so veterans, teenagers and regular people are not afraid of losing their rights when they seek mental health help.

    How many veterans don’t seek help because they could lose their rights? I know lots of people would never seek help if because of this issue. Most people are tyranny lovers on this issue and would rather the illusion of locking crazy people up by some government standard of who is crazy.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      The key is *successful* suicide; there are indeed statistics out there if you look. In particular, women tend to use methods other than firearms and their “success” rate is lower because of it.

      1. avatar Biatec says:

        Did it ever occur to you that women may make crys for help more often then men? Maybe they didn’t actually want too? Because there are a lot of cases of women cutting themselves and someone saving them because they did it in a way it would take hours or while someone was in the other room and would find them even if it was a lot of bleeding.

        If you hang yourself you will go unconscious. Most of the shaking and noises is reflexes and spasms. It’s one of the easiest ways to do it. Just stop already with these stats people use to say what ever they want.

        It does not take much thought to figure out what is wrong with those stats.

        Also guns have zero to do with suicide rates. Japan is an example of that.

      2. avatar Jon B says:

        The statistic that suicides via gun more commonly results in death means absolutely nothing of consequence by itself. People who are more determined to die might choose guns as a currently easy way to die, for example. Correlation does not imply causality. That’s basic statistical analysis.

      3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        OK, kids, I tried to explain it. Keep screaming into the echo chamber.

        1. avatar Jon B says:

          So now you move to personal attacks.

  11. avatar Jason says:

    Sorry, but I’m not sorry. This is complete nonsense:

    “Suicide is the number one cause of firearm-related deaths…”

    Um, NO! Suicide is not the cause of anything. Suicide is the result, the result of mental illness, depression, meds being out of kilter, nihilism, etc. etc. etc…

    All of this is more blame the tool so we don’t have to address the real problem.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      Not always. I watched as my father died die from brain cancer over the course of two years as it slowly took his mind and dignity. A grandfather from mesothelioma, with him he sat in a chair and gasp for air and slowly was strangled by it. Another grandfather from cancer of the spine. very painful and it paralyzed him months before it killed him. A mother in law from pancreatic cancer who begged for more pain medicine until she thankfully finally went into a coma.
      It’s considered humane to release a pet from pain or an incurable condition but not a human. If you were to let Fido slowly die from some incurable disease you would be viewed as a monster.
      Sorry If I develop something incurable that is going to leave me unable to care for myself as it progresses I’m planning on having a little accident. A nice advantage of being a diabetic is that which keeps me alive can also be used another way. No need for a gun but if I had to it would work just as well.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        Yes, I agree with you. I think that was covered with the etc. etc. etc. part, but all the same I think you’re right. I have a similar list of family members that have died from terrible things, though as it happens none of them chose suicide. The point remains: The tool is irrelevant, so lumping suicide in with “gun culture” and guns generally is a red herring.

      2. avatar 9x39 says:

        Suicide in those circumstances, I wholeheartedly agree with. An incidental to my post above, my best friends father went out the same way. Insulin overdose, and found in bed with a plethora of empty packages of all the sweet’s he’d denied himself for so long. He was about to lose both his legs, and health was declining fast. He decided on an alternate in order to not burden his son’s life.

        I knew the man well, and it’s one of the few I hold above the others I spoke of before.

        1. avatar KenW says:

          I did not think of that! I could have a skor bar or two as I inject about 300 units. I love those things but they are on the no list so I have not eaten one in years.
          I went ultra low carb years back mainly to avoid the problems so many of us have due to fluctuating blood glucose levels. Hopefully it was worth it.

  12. avatar Ben says:

    I’d argue that suicide is a human right. My body, my choice.

  13. avatar Nickel Plated says:

    As long as the whole “mental defective” thing remains a disqualifier, suicidal gun owners (the ones most likely to use a gun to commit suicide, I imagine) will not seek professional help.
    And getting red flagged and losing one of the hobbies you probably enjoy doing, is not likely to do great things for your mental well-being.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      I noticed one of Biden’s platform items was reinstating the firearms ban for social security recipients who are not able to handle their own financial affairs among other reasons
      Trump removed it and the person who might replace him probably would be disqualified from owning a shotgun by his own rule change.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Having handled my mother’s finances for the last 10-15 years of her life, I have to ask how in hell the government plans to *know* a person has someone else handling their finances? They sure never knew I was handling my mother’s! Once a year I handed her a tax return to sign, and that was that.

  14. avatar kahlil says:

    One of the ranges near me, linked to a LGS, had two suicides at the range in a week’s span this summer. At least one involved a firearm that I believe was rented at the range.

    1. avatar Mike V says:

      At the range?!

      1. avatar Wedge259 says:

        Not unusual unfortunately. A range in my town had it happen twice with rented guns in a weeks time. I know its enough of a problem that some ranges will not rent you a gun unless you’re already a gun owner.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Wow, I feel a little naive for not knowing that. I’ve seen plenty of ranges where you had to bring in your own gun to be able to rent one of theirs and thought it was just another silly range rule.

        2. avatar KenW says:

          I learned something too. I know the two ranges I go to have that requirement and while I wondered why never bothered to asked. I also figured it was just a range rule.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I betcha a range owner or worker would get tired of people committing suicide with a rented gun pretty quick!

      2. avatar Mark H says:

        Friend of mine was murdered at an indoor shooting range. Rental customer. Rented a 357, shot several other customers, and then put the last round right through his head.

        Never really been comfortable at indoor ranges sinced then.

  15. avatar Robert Walter says:

    Remember the Candian experience. They banned handguns. Suicide by handgun dropped severely. The overall suicide totals did not change.

    1. avatar Jon B says:

      I didn’t realize that Canada had this experience, but Australia went about the same way with its gun bans. Suicides were dropping before the gun ban, and continued to drop after the gun ban, but if there was an effect from the lack of guns, it was tiny.

  16. avatar Dan says:

    Suicide is an expression of freedom. People should have the right to choose whether they want to live or die.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      And they do! Since there is no way to stop them. OOoops. Actually, I guess there actually is! You could kill them, that would stop their suicide.

  17. avatar Elmer Fudd says:

    To quote Shrek, “What a bunch of crap!”

    I can say this without apology.
    My maternal grandmother committed suicide back in 1955. The suicide weapon was a Higgins .22 caliber, bolt action rifle. She had bought the rifle from Sears the day of the suicide. She probably bought a rifle rather than a handgun because even as a US territory, Hawaii severely regulated handguns. She also bought a box of .22 caliber shorts. As a result, the rifle and ammunition selected the gun was so quite that the neighbors in her apartment building didn’t hear the gun shot. The 27 grain projectile barely penetrated hey skull before breaking up into three fragments that embedded themselves only a few centimeters into hey brain. The evidence indicates that she remained alive, concious and ambulatory for some time before she finally laid down with her head on a pillow to die of a slow, cerebral hemorrhage. The three suicide notes (I had the hand writing checked) indicated that she was despondent because she thought that she had lost all of her money.

    Rather than blame Sears or guns for my grandmother’s suicide, I blame my philandering grandfather. He flew to Hawaii ASAP to identify the body and tell the coroner that his wife was having “woman’s problems.”. He then gave the court a copy of my grandmother’s will that would have left everything she still owned that he hadn’t already embezzled to him if the divorce hadn’t become final a few days earlier. My grandfather then told my then teenager mother to be “later bitch,” then flew back home to marry the other woman a week later. My mother still managed to graduate with honors from the prestigious Punaho school (same school as Barack Obama) a few months later.

    In spite of the prevalence of firearms in the US and the high percentage of suicides that are committed with firearms in the US, the US has one of the lowest suicide rates in the industrialized world. See reliable statistics here:

    https://ourworldindata.org/suicide

    Suicide is an extremely complicated issue. The availability of guns or other weapons is not a cause.

    Whatever poses TTAG to publish this BS?

  18. avatar hawkeye says:

    The idea of voluntary “mental health storage” at a range or gun shop is intriguing. Much of the rest of this is blather.

  19. avatar Jim from LI says:

    Look at Japan. Since private guns are as rare as unicorns, they have virtually no suicides – oh, wait, never mind. The presence of a firearm in the home increases the chances of suicide – BY FIREARM. And ownership of a car increases the risk of dying in a car accident.

    Without some kind of Good Samaritan immunity protection, if I were a LGS owner I would be reluctant to offer my premises as a safe storage option, because God forbid someone later commits suicide with the gun you returned to them. There will be a hostile lawyer blaming you for returning a gun to someone who wasn’t “ready” to be given it back. “What are your qualifications? Do you have a degree in psychology/psychiatry? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant was grossly negligent and my clients should get everything he has.”

  20. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    The hard truth for us gun owners is that … more guns lead to … higher rates of successful suicide.

    This is patently false and demonstrably untrue. As another commenter noted above, Japan has a higher suicide rate than the United States and there are ZERO firearms in civilian hands for all intents and purposes.

    With a quick squeeze of a trigger the suicidal individual is almost guaranteed the outcome they intend.

    And a suicide is equally quick and guaranteed if a person:

    1) Jumps in front of a high-speed train

    2) Drives their car into a highway overpass pillar at 90 m.p.h.

    3) Jumps off a highway overpass with a sturdy rope tied appropriately

    4) Is barefoot and throws an extension cord over a multi-thousand volt wire

    There are countless additional methods as well.

    Here is the simple fact: if someone is bound-and-determined to kill themselves, they will find a way. Just as people who own trains, cars, ropes, and electrical cables have zero responsibility for people who use those things to kill themselves, people who have firearms have zero responsibility for people who use firearms to kill themselves.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Oh, there is another super-easy, guaranteed way to kill yourself. Commenter KenW touched upon it above: overdosing. KenW hinted at overdosing with insulin to cause a quick and fatal low blood sugar crash. A simpler and even more painless overdose: go buy some heroin from an undocumented pharmacist a street drug dealer and simple inject yourself with 20 times the normal “dose”.

      As I stated above, someone who is determined to kill themselves will find a way and succeed. Firearm ownership (on both an individual and societal level) is irrelevant. As another commenter stated, stop blaming/focusing on the object/method and start focusing on the underlying mental condition.

    2. avatar 9x39 says:

      Bingo. Both of you.

      For sh!t’s & giggles, the author might do a search for Sea of Trees, aka Aokigahara forest. I fear he will not, fair certain this is a shill piece for red flags.

  21. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

    Lack of a gun does not stop one from committing suicide. Japan is proof of that. While guns “might” prove to have a higher success rate in suicides, I have not seen any study that confirms that other forms are less successful. A leap off a very tall structure will surely prove as effective as a firearm when committing suicide.
    Note that not every attempt with a gun automatically results in death.

  22. avatar Prndll says:

    With everything that has happened in 2020, I would not trust anyone’s statistical data. Particularly when trying to relate 2017 to now.

    When a person truly wants to die, they WILL find a way.

  23. avatar RV6DRIVER says:

    Suicide is suicide. If Someone wants to check out to avoid the red tape that’s their prerogative. The method of suicide is just an afterthought. Japan has the highest suicide rate in the developed world and there’s no talk of banning trains and trees……

  24. avatar Ron says:

    Incorrect. America’s “Suicide Epidemic” is entirely the fault of progressive leftist culture destroying the American family, religion, patriotism, and government.

    The school shooter phenomenon is the same.

  25. avatar possum says:

    Gunms do make it easy. Some States make it a felony to commit suicide.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      How long do they normally imprison the corpse?

  26. avatar Tec's Dad says:

    It is a sad state of affairs…Early January of 2018 my eldest brother took his life..he was 59 yo. I do not blame the tool or method that he used. He shot himself with a Ruger P85..it is not Ruger’s fault nor would it have been a drug company’s or a what have you…He had been through alcoholism and was doing well sober for a few years…lost his job as a tool engineer and drifted between much lower paying jobs….depression and anxiety are nothing to be taken lightly..he had no insurance and was very stubborn…with the isolation and state of today’s bs… sucks

  27. avatar Elmer Fudd says:

    My grandmother was in her eighth floor, linie apartment at 260 Lewers Street in Hawaii when she committed suicide. It would have been easy for her to jump.

    https://youtu.be/ODV6mxVVRZk

  28. avatar Anon says:

    Suicide is NOT the guns culture biggest problem.

    If someone wants to leave, they will find a way.

    Put your article on MSM, not here.

    1. avatar Red says:

      Exactly. Well said.

      Suicides is a symptom of the culture at large and nothing to do with guns.

      As if guns were suddenly to disappear, suicides would drop dramatically. That’s nonsense.

  29. avatar De Facto says:

    Japan’s suicide rate is startlingly high. Much higher than ours. Guns are extremely difficult to acquire there, so people who are tired of living just step in front of their mass-transit trains. Simple. Effective. Quick. Practically impossible to prevent. Just like crime, you are blaming a tool instead of the person wielding it. Suicide is not a symptom of gun culture. Suicide is a symptom of a society that is ill. No one wants to have that discussion though. Because if we actually start to examine society, it’s going to lead to uncomfortable questions. No one wants to question whether all the changes we’ve made in the last 60 years have been for the best (spoiler alert: they haven’t been) because looking back at how things were isn’t progressive. We must always look FORWARD, to the great and glorious progressive utopia that we will eventually create.. with just a few more infringements.

    If someone wants to commit suicide, they will do so. They hardly need a gun for that.. Just ask Robin Williams or Heath Ledger.. though I guess suicides involving the Clintons in do involve guns more often than not.

  30. avatar Ralph says:

    In England, Tylenol was switched from loose packaging in bottles to blister packs to make it more difficult for Brits to off themselves by chasing their analgesics with a bottle of Scotch. The combination of the two caused liver failure and was a convenient suicide methodology.

    So I guess you can say that suicide was a side effect of headaches, which makes as much sense as this Op-Ed.

  31. avatar Jon B says:

    Facing the Gun Culture’s Biggest Problem: Dishonest Use of Statistics

    This article lacks any basic fundamentals of statistical analysis. The author needs to understand that correlation does not imply causality. Google should turn up some good articles if you search on that phrase. As long as gun owners repeat this kind of dishonest propaganda, we will have a harder time resisting further infringements of our rights.

  32. avatar Dev says:

    Didn’t I read this same exact story a few years ago? Sounded fake then too. The biggest problem we face is people trying to take our rights away. Period.

  33. avatar Optimistic Engineer says:

    Suicide needs to be treated seperate from firearms. Sadly, I know a few people who committed suicide. I also know a few I talked into seeking help.

    Suicide needs to be treated seperate from firearms. The tool of choice seems to now be opiates.

  34. avatar Tim says:

    “He had shot himself last night and she wanted to find out where he bought the firearm and when.”

    How likely does this scenario sound? A young man kills himself, and the #1 thing his mother wants to know – not 24 hours after the event – is *WHERE* he bought the firearm.

    Because knowing *where* he bought the gun is vital information to the mother.

    No disrespect, but I don’t believe this story.

  35. avatar Nicholas Wright says:

    I thought that that was a strange response by the mother as well. Gun shops cannot read peoples minds. Sellers arent responsible for what buyers choose to do with a gun. The second amendment doesnt have a suicide clause. If it did antis would just label everyone except military personel suicidal and prevent all private gun ownership.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Nicholas,

      Don’t give the antis any ideas! (Not that the antis have not already thought of this approach.)

  36. avatar kap says:

    Democrats love abortion but dislike suicide! go figure! I guess because babies can’t vote!

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Defenseless victims are their favorite, aren’t they?

  37. avatar Asimov's Spectre says:

    Suicide is a nasty bi-product of the way we live; our strains and stressors induced en masse in our structured, sterile economy without actual community or sense of belonging.

    Most of us no longer live in tribes, villages or supportive groups beyond our families who, in many cases, have become quite detached and dysfunctional themselves. We live in areas of large population densities, but in many cases do not even know our neighbor’s name.

    We spend more hours at school or at work than we do at home while awake, even while sleeping less, and earn less money and learn less critical thinking skills each year. This meat grinder is hammering out our humanity and slowly turning us into thralls. For those of us who can’t handle the constant stress and struggle, or cannot bear the thought of entering this darkened void of life without community, camaraderie or humanity, becomes too much for many to take. Our sense of agency is an illusion.

    We’ve been slowly conditioned to accept the fact that we are not unique, not vital, not an integral part of our communities. Yet we’re squeezed via extortion at every turn; income taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, permit for this, license for that; registration fees; at every turn we must pay the Don his protection money or violence will be visited upon you. The state is banditry. It always has been.

    All human interaction should be voluntary. Without the freedom to choose how we actually want to live in western society, we all are molded into the cookie-cutter production hell; that benefits both the state and those in positions of power who no longer produce anything themselves (that is, if they ever did at all). We toil and yield less and less for ourselves, not just in terms of money or things, but in free time, free thought and to be free without that constant sense of background anxiety. Being productive is one thing, but bearing the fruit of your own productivity for yourself and loved ones is far more natural to our mental well-being than constantly squeezing out a tiny fraction of your labor for yourselves.

    Maybe I’m full of it, but all this depression, suicide etc. was exceedingly rare in the not-too-distant past. Back when we were actually important to the well-being (and even survival) of each other. Now, we’re just nameless, faceless drones, quickly replaced when we fall out of the formation.

    It’s not a gun problem. Our society as a whole is poisoning our minds. We’re stepping into a futuristic tech-noir cyberpunk world. It sounds cool, but it is not.

  38. avatar Darkman says:

    I’ve known several people who have either attempted or committed suicide. Of all of them 3 involved firearms. two succeeded and one failed horribly. 2 pulled in front of a train oddly at the same set of tracks even though they didn’t know each other. 2 hanged themselves 1 successfully. The other was found in time to save them. 1 crashed into an on coming semi at high speed and 3 used drugs. Each had their reasons from depression, failed relationships, money issues, future jail time and No reason given. Yet they all chose death which is a very personal thing regardless of the why. The choice of the manner is often a matter of convenience and yes as horrible as it may sound leaving a pretty corpse. The reality is when a person decides to end their life. Regardless of any obstacles they will find a way. Blaming the tool of death for most people is nothing more than a coping mechanism to explain away the pain they feel from not doing enough to help the person. Who often neither wants or benefits from the effort. For others it becomes a cash stream to comfort themselves and focus their pain away from themselves. When they can’t or won’t accept the why. Reality can be such a Bitch sometimes.

  39. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Guns, no guns…where there’s a will, there’s a way…sad fact of life…

  40. avatar Ghost Who Walks says:

    The best and only counter to all suicide and especially quick suicide is to instill in the minds of all people that suicide is one of the few things you can safely put off until tomorrow.

  41. avatar Grieving Parent says:

    This is the most asinine article I’ve read on this site and the author obviously has never had a loved one with depression. Three months ago, my teenage son took his own life in front of me while I begged him not to. My son was struggling with depression and while we did everything possible to keep him safe, the two main contributors were alcohol and prescribed Prozac (with no PGX testing performed) that caused the irrational thinking.

    What I’ve learned through this process is that societal issues have caused more problems than ever. Let’s talk about social media and the mental health industry. Those two facets alone are what pushed my son down a path that he couldn’t find his way out of. Everyone wants to demonize firearms. Let’s look at what’s causing the issues and start there.

    1. avatar BOhio says:

      GP, I’m really sorry for you and everyone who loved and cared about your son. And I’m sorry your son was so unhappy and troubled. May he rest in peace. I’ve lost 2 brothers and the son of one of them (i.e. my nephew, named after his deceased dad) to suicide. It is awful. I feel your pain, and I wish you the best in coping with it.

      And this article is indeed asinine, and the ‘writer’ should be embarrassed, and more so the publisher at TTAG for approving this ‘content’. It is excrement. Now I’m heading off to our chicken coop to clean up more of the same, but my chickens have more integrity.

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