Monday, July 7, 2008

Suicide rates and firearms

Interesting article from the American Journal of Psychiatry:

Guns and suicide: possible effects of some specific legislation

CL Rich, JG Young, RC Fowler, J Wagner and NA Black
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego.

The authors describe suicide rates in Toronto and Ontario and methods used for suicide in Toronto for 5 years before and after enactment of Canadian gun control legislation in 1978. They also present data from San Diego, Calif., where state laws attempt to limit access to guns by certain psychiatric patients. Both sets of data indicate that gun control legislation may have led to decreased use of guns by suicidal men, but the difference was apparently offset by an increase in suicide by leaping. In the case of men using guns for suicide, these data support a hypothesis of substitution of suicide method.

So, what's that mean?

It means there's data that shows banning firearms does not lower suicide rates. Instead of shooting themselves, suicidal guys throw themselves off buildings.

Once again, controlling the tools does not control the behavior. People just find other tools.

1 comment:

TchoTChoWrangler said...

I think it was schopenhaur(sp?) who said "people commit suicide when they are more afraid of life than death".

Can't see how firearms would enter into it, if you want to "leave" your going to aren't you?

The only thing I would have wondered was wether shooting yourself might present a lower threshold in as much as people often worry about f*cking their attempt up.