Study Links Gun Laws to Lower Suicide Rates

A new study in the American Journal of Public Health has shown a link between gun laws and suicide rates. 4 gun laws were researched in different states, including those imposing waiting periods for gun purchases, universal background checks, gun locks and open carrying regulations, and the presence of these laws were associated with significantly lower firearm suicide rates. Furthermore, each law, excluding those legislating waiting periods, were associated with lower overall suicide rates. States that implemented these laws saw a decrease in suicide, and the one state that repealed these laws saw an increase in their suicide rate. This comes as no surprise to Michael D. Anestis, the lead author of the study, who says that “when you make a highly lethal method of suicide harder to access, you’re going to lower the suicide rate.”

This study comes at a pivotal time when gun laws are being passionately debated across the country. Advocates for stronger gun laws and advocates against them are working hard to implement legislation in their home states and federally.  As of this month, the Pew Research Center published new findings showing that the percentage of people who think it is more important to protect gun rights and the percentage of people who think it’s more important to control gun ownership are just about even. The Pew Center has been tracking public opinion on guns each month for roughly 20 years.

Regardless of your stance on firearms, this new study gives both sides something to think about. It seems obvious that if it’s harder to acquire firearms, it’s harder for someone to try to end their life with one, but this study goes further with its link to overall lower suicide rates. This new research should be included in the current debate.

You can read more about this study in the New York Times or you can find the full study Here.

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Jordan Star

Is a contributor to The Almost Doctor’s Channel.