Spingfield Saint PDW via Facebook
Image via Springfield Armory Facebook.

Gun control advocates love to talk about ‘gun deaths.’ As if those malicious guns somehow decide to kill innocent boys and girls in the prime of their young lives. In reality, the majority of so-called gun deaths aren’t homicides or murders. Instead, the dirty little not-so-secret truth is much less ominous:  they are suicides.

Gun grabbers never mention how many millions of times each year that guns thwart violent crime.  From the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE):

Guns Prevent Thousands of Crimes Every Day, Research Shows

It never fails. A split-second after a mass shooting occurs, grandstanders and ideologues issue statements demanding new gun controls—even if the laws already on the books failed or the laws they want would have made no difference. Case in point: the tragic incidents in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, in early August 2019.

The message is clear: Guns cause violence. Tax them, take them, ban them, regulate them. Do something, maybe anything! Such knee-jerk, emotional responses are dangerous, writes Charles W. Cooke in National Review, “for when a nation sets up a direct pipeline between its emotions and its laws, it does not keep its liberty for long.”

Guns Don’t Kill People, They Save Them
Liberty isn’t the only thing likely to be lost when gun laws are passed to appease emotions over reason, evidence, logic, and rights. Lives will most assuredly be lost, too. Lots of them.

This raises a point amplified in another context almost two centuries ago by Frederic Bastiat in his famous essay with a title that sums it up, “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen.”

How many lives are actually saved by gun ownership? This is a supremely important question that the grandstanders and ideologues usually—and conveniently—ignore. It’s a matter that came immediately to my mind when I learned of an incident here in my own town of Newnan, Georgia, a few days ago. The headline in the Newnan Times-Herald read, “Man Hospitalized After Being Shot Outside Bar.”

Not only do gun control advocates ignore crimes thwarted and lives saved, they also misrepresent the nature of the vast majority of firearm-related deaths. But once in a while the truth sneaks out from the legacy media.

From the Bellevue Reporter:

Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center suggest three policy solutions to help reduce rates of firearm injury and suicide.

Recent reports from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that more than 39,000 people died from firearm injuries in the U.S. in 2018, including 24,432 by gun suicide.

Dr. Frederick P. Rivara, author of the study, said 70 percent of firearm deaths in Washington state are due to suicide.

Rivara’s study examined three means of intervention that allow for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis to separate themselves from their firearm and in turn create a safer environment for themselves and their family.

How many of us have known strong and independent people with age- or disease-related quality-of-life issues who choose to end their lives on their terms rather than linger for months or possibly years alone in a nursing home? I certainly do. You probably do as well.

The Bellevue Reporter story covers ways in which gun control advocates love to promote the prevention of suicides including temporary storage by others, voluntary “do not sell” lists and red flag orders.

It’s no secret that most firearm-related deaths in the US are suicides, not homicides. That’s been the case for decades.

Some will say that if we only regulated firearm ownership more closely or banned guns altogether, suicides would fall dramatically. In reality, Japan has very few guns in civilian ownership yet their suicide rate exceed that of us gun-toting Americans by a wide margin.

Maybe it’s not the guns that are the problem. And don’t forget that guns certainly do save far more innocent lives than they take.

 

53 COMMENTS

      • guest,

        That depends on the person’s knowledge/skills, the firearm that they choose, and the alternate method of suicide under consideration.

        Many people botch suicide attempts with firearms. (Sadly, the results are often pretty gruesome.)

        I can tell you this: a person with the slightest bit of intelligence can guarantee a successful suicide without a firearm if they really are intent on ending their life. Guaranteed success requires nothing more than a sturdy rope and a highway overpass.

        • It is easy to mess it up, saw a guy blow his own lower mandible off with a 12 gauge. He has to eat through a straw and has some weird looking metal apparatus where most of his lower face once was. Through a series of noises and or written text he can more or less make himself understood by those who know him.

        • Knew a guy who botched the job at contact range while driving with his girlfriend, he hung around for a couple of days. He was an idiot.

        • Im glad we have someone named uncommon sense to explain everything (with no facts whatsoever to offer)…. to answer a question without an actual answer….. just some B S gibberish with no meaning….

          If anyone here actually has statistics on whether or not firearms usage in suicide actually results in more deaths I would be interested in a actual answer…

        • Okay, Mr. fkn Idiot, I’ll bite.

          There surely are statistics on the efficacy of suicide by firearm compared to other methods (to the extent that suicides by pills and similar methods can be separated from accidents, that is), but nobody is going to look them up for you and hand them to you on a silver platter.

          Only a fk’n idiot would need some academic paper to grok the fact that although firearms are not a guarantee, they are highly effective at ending the lives of those who choose to employ them for that purpose.

          More important to the purpose of protecting our freedoms is the evidence that no restriction on legal gun ownership has ever resulted in a lower long-term suicide rate. People who really mean to do it will try multiple times if necessary and will succeed by one method or another.

      • Depends on what exactly you mean by “much”. It is the most likely method of suicide to result in death based on all published data, yes. 50% more likely than the next two methods, drowning and suffocation? No. It’s at most 20% more likely to result in death, and that’s if you consider death to mean “DoA at a hospital.” No data exist to describe the survival rates of any of those three methods of suicide once they reach medical care. The data I reference above comes from just one study, described and cited in the page linked below (I cannot link the journal article in question itself as the link would be taken down for copyright infringement.)

        https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/case-fatality/

        So short answer: no, not unless you consider a fifth “much”. Long answer: probably not, but for all the political bluster on the topic there is remarkably little scientific research published on the topic the world over.

        Makes you think, doesn’t it? Imagine if scientists were allowed to discuss the number of suicides by firearm, attempted or successful, and then analyse whether it is actually a more deadly method of self-harm than others. Why, that might sweep the legs out from under the gun confiscation agenda! We can’t be having that, now can we?

      • “Yes”, firearms are a more effective means to commit suicide.
        Firearms are used almost exclusively by males in suicide. Consider that, while four times as many females *attempt* suicide, four times as many males actually *commit* suicide.

      • High school girlfriend (class of ’64) had 2 kids, a gorgeous 15 year old girl and a 12 year old boy. Girl put a bullet in her brain, was a vegetable for 35 years before she died. 6 days later the 12 year old hung himself, died on the spot. There are no guarantees. Lady is (somehow) still with us at 74.

    • Suicide is not worth messing up. It’s probably a temporary problem most folks are trying to solve. In the gun community a major sign that gets my attention is when a really hardcore gun guy starts trying to give away his nicest and favorite guns to his closest friends and associates. That’s a big one right there. It may be time to ask him if he is doing alright.

      • Here’s a suggestion….. your advice sounds like nanny b s….. minding your own business saves note lives than anything else…. trust me on this….
        Just because someone gives away stuff doesn’t mean their gonna off themselves…..I mean wtf…?

  1. So the Whitehouse uses the Constitution when it benefits them, not Us. Trump’s getting impeached.
    At last America has a chance with Biden to MChinaGA.
    I want to get this right just soe’s my government doesn’t come down on me. The CCP flag goes to the right and above the American flag, right, I certainly don’t want to break any laws. Might get my gunms took away if I was a law breaker.
    Feel the Pain Mortal

    • Do try to stick to the topic in question.
      If the government starts to confiscate guns, there will be a lot of folks who will be reading “Anarchist Cookbook” and other related literature to learn how to make IEDs!

  2. An important historical note that bears directly on today’s gun controversy and, in particular, the proposals for a scary gun ban. It was tried under the Clinton administration in 1994 and then the law was sun-setted after 10 years (2004) as it had insufficient sponsors to be extended.

    Essentially, it did virtually nothing to curtail the types of crimes the Left believed it would. Read about it on Wikipedia. It’s a lesson in misgovernment.

    So, gun bans have been tried before even under Federal authority in the U.S. in the past and it had little if any effect. Most scholars believe that this is the result that the very semi-automatic weapons that so frightens the Left, the AR-15 and its cousins, were used in a remarkably small number of substantial victim incidents.

    So, today as was the case in 1994 the Left is aiming at the wrong weapon system. Yet, they’re rabid at the thought that they could deprive us of effective home defense systems and, let’s be honest, the weapon systems that make American citizens formidable were government oppression to prevail.

    Their arguments fail on the failure of the 1994 Clinton weapons ban.

  3. Doesn’t matter. We’re up against the feelz. Data can’t fight the feelz.

    The way I figure it a good 90% of lefties are barely functioning emotionally driven children and the top 10% get off on making the masses obey their ludicrous nonsense. The more ludicrous the harder they get off.

  4. They Kill Horses Don’t they. A controversial movie from the late 60s for you kiddies.
    Check it out. My wifes grandmother just laid down one day and gave up. She died 10 days later. Its a tradition that goes back to the beginning of civilization. Life and Death, its what makes the world go round.

  5. And in recent years, the vast majority of Suicides and homicides are not committed with rifles of any type (2% to 3% of homicides varying by year and nearly zero suicides) much less scary looking “assault rifles”.

  6. Sobel, the fellow in Band of Brothers (he was the p***k officer who could not navigate) actually shot himself in the head, he lived for 17 years and died in a VA hospital. When he shot himself he became blind, for 17 years til he died.

    The Smithsonian may still have their display of suicides and attempted suicides by firearm.

    If your going to off yourself, use drugs or something but don’t shoot yourself in the head.

    Cheers

    • drugs are much more likely to fail and can cause all sorts of long-term disability.

      Medical-assisted suicide should be legal. But in places where it’s not, a gunshot to the head is the most sure method. There are lots of examples of people surviving GSW attempted suicides, but none who did it properly. They tend to shoot their face off (sounds like what your example did).

      Any proper caliber handgun (the bigger, the better) applied perpendicular to the skull near the temple will work. As Bud Dyer would attest, one through the mouth works as well, but it is a little less idiot-proof as it depends on the angle. Don’t do the failed shotgun under the chin. Again, perpendicular to the front is key. But do it outside, if you must.

  7. If you ever want to start to address the problem of suicide, we need to attack the way we’ve structured our society itself, and see how it goes against much of our instincts and support structures that (for tens of thousands of years) had been the mainstay of the young and developing mind.

    Also applied to veterans and those who have had traumatic experiences.

    Our society as a whole is to blame, not firearms. I would start with how schools are structured and funded and wipe the slate clean, redesigning how they operate from the ground up to be a lot smaller and simpler (and reduce as many stressors as possible). They’re one of the biggest wastes of taxpayer money ($ : result), next to military expenditures and government subsidies elsewhere.

    You’d think with all of our basic “needs” accounted for (food, water, shelter, warmth), the rest would be gravy. While this is true in the short term, in the long term, other stressors build up into a sort of anxiety dogpile that eventually compound upon each other and can overwhelm a person.

    There should be more of a dialogue on how to knock down stressors and increase periods of levity to help rebalance our lives. Smaller, simpler communities usually have statistically far fewer suicides and mental health problems as they have a more close-knit social support structure.

    In many larger population centers, you can live your whole life out next to neighbors whose names you never wind up knowing. Isolated in a crowd. That’s not how anyone should live.

  8. So what. The communists want mass disarmament of the population not to save lives of the citizenry but to save their own stinking lives.

    But we are not going to surrender to their demands. Never. Our guns are tools of freedom. The Founding Fathers stated so, and enscribed the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution to solidify the right to bear arms.

    Never Surrender

  9. Now I understand!

    That gun is actually a pistol with an extendable brace, not a short barrel rifle with a telescoping stock.

    Silly me. I would have braced the brace against my shoulder to fire using the sights, this committing a Federal felony.

    Why don’t we just cut the bull shit and lobby to repeal the regulation of short barrel rifles?

    • I’ll buy that! Now, I am hoping that gun is a .300 blk or similar, I hate to imagine the blast if it’s 5.56. But it sure is a cute gun!

      • I’m actually beginning to respect the 300 Blackout cartridge. It seemed like just a reinvention of the M-1 Carbine cartridge to me. Not a useless cartridge. Prior to about 1980, the M-1 Carbine was the rifle of choice for cop killers. Thanks to the publicity generated by THE A TEAM, the Ruger Mini-14 became the rifle of choice for cop killers for over a decade. Then Clinton’s assault weapon ban inspired cop killers to suddenly switch to AK-47s. Of course far more cops have been murdered with shotguns than with military style, semiautomatic rifles. The Remington 870 is by far the weapon of choice.

        Now that I understand that the 300 Blackout is intended for use in short barrelled rifles and pistols, it makes sense to me. However; I’m hoping criminals will revert to favoring shotguns again just to honor our new POTUS Kameltoe Harris and her Senile Sock Puppet Biden.

        I’m opening a betting pool on when Kameltoe will kill Biden so she can move into the Whitehouse. My money is on February 14. Cause of death will be Covidvirus of course with a comorbidity of acute lead poisoning.

        • A subsonic 300blk has the same ballistics as a 45acp. A full powered 300blk is an intermediate cartridge similar to 7.62×39. Given the availability of 300blk and the only advantage is running suppressed, I don’t think it will stand the time test of other rounds.

  10. Another great and timely quote from Frédéric Bastiat –

    ” When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

  11. I have to bring up a issue that sounds just stupid but it is true. Death by Suicide is is almost 0% in people that ride motorcycles. Something about being happy and having contentment. People that ride motorcycles are higher percentile gun owners that those that don’t. I think I’m going to be OK. Look it up. .

    • I rode for 35 years, as fast as it would go, so maybe you can forgive my obvious comment. Riding a motorcycle could itself be considered suicidal!

    • You’re absolutely correct that your issue appears to, well, less than intellectual.

      But thanks for posting, anyway.

      Best,

      David

      • I rode a cycle when I was in graduate school and got rear-ended by someone who said he didn’t see me AT A TRAFFIC STOP.

        He wasn’t a bad guy. So, I let it go as long as his insurance paid for a replacement Honda 750. I could have sought payments for my medical bills, but, I had medical insurance as I was a Ph.D. candidate at Baylor College of Medicine and had all the coverage I needed.

        Forgiveness and accommodation is a Christian value. I value my religious upbringing. It has served me well even as the current challenge is…Corona virus.

  12. Suicide and crime have different causes, so they need different solutions. I put suicides into two categories: pain/suffering and mental disorders. If someone has a terminal disease, like stage 4 cancer, and they’re in constant pain, why shouldn’t we let them (and not some external council) decide to end their misery? We know it’s humane to put our dogs “to sleep” when they can’t be helped. We’ll send them to hospice to be kept unconscious with morphine but won’t let them just die. I have no problem with this type committing suicide because there aren’t going to be better days.

    Mental issues, such as PTSD or depression, are another story. It can be overcome, and there can be better days. These are a tragedy, but gun control isn’t the answer. Trying to prevent something, whether suicide or sin, by hindering access doesn’t solve the problem. The motivation hasn’t been removed, and they’ll get access to whatever is verbotten, as shown by the utter failure of alcohol and drug prohibition. If they can’t get access to the object of their choice, they’ll find a substitute.

    Crime is more like mental issues, where motive needs to be addressed and being a contributing citizen is the better alternative. A multi-pronged approach is needed. Since gang bangers are the primary problems, we need to provide real opportunities, education, and skills that are an alternative to the thug life (not just lip service like affirmative action). The gang mystique needs to be destroyed, and there needs to be tough enforcement against those that break the law.

  13. More people are saved by guns, up to 2.5 million times per year! Also most gun deaths are suicides! Fact. If you remove the democrat run crime riddled cities, we would be the safest country in the world! So the problem lies with the dem run gun controlled criminal enterprises revolving door shitttholes! Change my mind!

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