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Suicide and firearms

edited April 2016 in Gun Control Debates Posts: 3
Does anyone think that the availability of guns increases the chances of a suicidal person actually following through with the act? It has recently been suggested to me that this is indeed the case. I suppose the logic works - if the most effective tool for a particular task is available, we are more likely to use it. When it is not available, sure, we can still go get one, or find another means to accomplish the task, but maybe the time it takes to do so would allow for an opportunity to calm down, or to engage with a friend who can help out. People who are depressed tend to act on impulse more readily than those who are not. So if a firearm is present, chances are good such a person will not take time to contemplate any other options to suicide. 

I guess the other question is, should we care? Maybe suicide is a non-issue when it comes to discussions of gun control. Thoughts?


  • I don't think suicide should really be brought into association with the issue. As someone who has been through suicidal thoughts and tendencies, the first thought isn't something like, "Well, let me get my gun and just end it." It's something you debate, and debate long and hard the best way to do it. If there is no gun available, they will find the next best way. Guns are merely another method of doing it, just like knives are. 
  • I think it could possibly be a concern, but when they talk about the gun ban, I really don't think they bring up suicide at all so I don't think it matters too much.  I do understand that mental illness is a serious issue that we should take seriously, but I just don't believe that we should focus on suicide when it comes to the gun ban.
  • I agree with you, dash. It may be used on occasion with suicides, and the mental illness is incredibly serious, but I don't feel like it should be brought up as an example for the gun ban debates. It wouldn't help either side, as there is no proof of it being a sole option for suicides or even the most common. 
  • This subject is very personal to me, since I have lost two family members to suicide. One being my cousin last year who was a decorated army man, father a and husband. He served this country proud and then came home to apply to be a police officer for 3 years before he took his life. This was a man that had the right to carry a gun. He got a job to protect and serve the streets as well. Unfortunately the toll that serving in our military was too much for him to bear on his shoulders. He took his life on Christmas day. Gun control is not going to stop people from taking their lives. If someone wants to end their life, and they can not get a gun, they will find another way.
  • Posts: 161
    If guns were indeed an integral part of suicide, why does Japan have such a high rate of suicide ? being that guns are NOT used in suicides in Japan, other methods are used, I responded to many suicides, actually prevented one in progress, a woman was attempting to jump into the path of a subway train.
    There are msny ways to commit suicide, a gun simply happens to be a convenient method, if no gun is available, other methods will suffice.
  • Posts: 15
    I once read men are more likely to commit suicide with a gun, while women are more likely to overdose.  But either way, I think if a person wanted to commit suicide, they would try and figure out their options.  In other countries where guns are not prevalent, there are probably the same number of suicides, just using different methods. I don't think there has been any correlation made between number of suicides and gun availability. 
  • Bette; you are wrong again, Japan has an alarmingly high rate of suicide,, certainly more than 10 times the average U.S. rate, intense pressures in school to over achieve coupled with a very intense sexual pressure on females to capitulate to male egotistical goading and an intense pressure to get married early, and still have a career while having children too.

    Japan has NO GUNS, yet suicide is skyrocketing higher and higher in Japan, many Countries have strict gun control and high rates of suicide, and I have not studied the U.K. and yet I am sure the U.K. suicide rate also is far highethan the U.S. rate, because when you control nothing else, suicide is the last stronghold of the absolutely powerless person that can't be taken away, the Roman bath is proof enough of that.
  • Posts: 15
    @doctorwho if you read my comment I wrote  

    "I don't think there has been any correlation made between number of suicides and gun availability."

    I don't think guns have anything to do with suicides, in that banning guns will have no effect on number of suicides. As you wrote, there are other factors involved (intense pressure, depression, etc.) and suicide really has nothing to do with the gun debate. 
  • Very true, you are correct.
  • Guns are probably the most effective way of ending lives, that's for sure. A suicidal person would obviously be more prone to committing the act if they hand a handgun in their presence. I personally believe that suicide is a personal right and that firearms should make it into the hands of those with no intent to hurt anyone else.  Even though suicide is illegal, it's also an adult human's right. After all, no one was asked to be born. Guns are the quickest (and painless if done right) to kill and one of the most humane too. A suicidal person shouldn't be limited to having to overdose on medication or jump in front of a bus in order to PROBABLY die slowly and painfully
  • As long as society wants to legislate what they feel is best for the individual, there will be no real freedom.
  • I do not believe banning guns is going to have an effect one way or another on the number of suicides that happen every day. Sadly, if a person is determined to do this, they can easily find other ways without having access to a gun.
  • Very true, like it or not, suicide has always been a personal choice of many people throughout history ever since humans have existed, way before firearms existed, and if a person commits suicide before committing great crimes.....
  • Hitler wrote that when he was a child, he was going to drown himself in a lake, however a lady stopped him from doing so, he later thought her to be an angel, She told him he would do great things in later life and not to harm himself.

    If Hitler had then drowned himself, perhaps millions of innocent people had not been murdered or sent to gas chambers and later, to crematoriums.
  • I don't believe guns have anything to do with more suicides. I feel when someone reaches that point, they will find a means to end their life. I believe one of the most dangerous contributors to suicides is society itself. People get depressed and then they are convinced by others that they are completely crazy if they seek help. I think the stigma of mental health issues as being made up contribute largely to the amount of suicides. Most of the suicides heard about in the news recently are by hanging or drugs.
  • Posts: 17
    When people have suicidal feelings, and they have made up their minds, they're going to do it and it doesn't matter by what means.  Guns make it easy and almost painless as it is almost instant if done right.  But people in this state of mind are going to do it no matter what.  Having guns around is not an issue.
  • I don't agree that the availability of a gun would increase the possibility of a person committing suicide.There are so many different options that these people have utilised to take their lives and I don't see any conclusive evidence that the gun was the most utilised method of choice even amongst persons who have had access to guns.
  • Posts: 5
    I do no think that suicides in particular, but gun activities.
    I mean if you have any kind of possibility to use a fire arm - you have one around you - it is easier to use it, i do think that gun laws can prevent a lot of things. Gun violence and all the stuff that comes with it - and yes ven suicide.
  • It is highly relevant to consider suicide and guns because there are a lot of studies that show guns have a large impact. In fact, if you look in the US, gun deaths have been increasing year on year for the past 15 years even thought gun homicides have been reducing. There were over 32,000 deaths last year alone by gun and 2/3 were by guns. Studies have shown that a high number of suicides currently are in young people and also in mid-life (crisis), were people can become depressed and experience  sudden lows that cause them to reach out for the easiest way to end their life. The gun makes that very easy, whereas alternatives are much harder and require planning, or are less successful and thus give the person a second chance to re-build their lives. For the young in particular, it could be a very happy and meaningful life. So.... making guns less accessible would have a huge impact.

  • I do not think suicide and guns makes more influence for the person to commit suicide. Although it may be a quicker death, the impact and realization may be hard on the person who is suicidal. A suicidal person can find many ways to end his life with or without a gun. 
  • Posts: 2
    It's true you can kill yourself in many different ways.  However, if you read any sites about suicide methods, guns are the quickest and most successful method.  Specifically shotguns.  If it's rated as the most successful, that's the method most depressed people are going to want to try.  No suicidal person wants to do themselves lifelong damage but not actually die. 

    This makes guns more attractive as a suicide method, and if they're already in your house, then voila.  Your suicide just became very easy and convenient.  Whereas if you have go to out and do something such as get a special doctors prescription for fifty million pills?  Uh, not so convenient.  Slit your wrists which has a very high fail rate?  Uh, not so foolproof.  Learn to tie a noose and hope it doesn't merely paralyze you?  Uh, I'm kind of afraid of paralysis.  Guns are just better for suicide.  And any suicidal person who does any research will see that. 
  • Posts: 5
    I don't believe that they guns necessarily make someone want to commit suicide more.  It just is a more deadly method.
  • I think guns do increase those chances. I think the reason because guns are the quickest way, and you would be more than likely to succeed. This doesn't usually occur to people, though it should. People kill themselves everyday by using guns. When they do, people look at it as another suicide, and then case closed(other than why they wanted to do such a thing.) We should care because people are losing their lives. It can happen to anyone and it could be the person sitting next to you. Honestly, I think everyone should raise awareness. It's not the gun committing the suicide, it's the person. This wouldn't happen if we didn't have guns, though.
  • Posts: 75
    Guns have a way of detaching one self from the searing psychological deterrent to commit murder though this also depends on the person involved. It is not like a machete wielding fellow who intimately witnesses the gory details of his crime. Death from gunshots is also fast as to be classified as humane.
  • Posts: 24
    I think that it would increase the rate of suicide, and just for the reason that you state - it is probably the easiest or quickest way associated with the act.  Should we be concerned is really a moral issue or question, and I would just like to think that we care for our fellow men, but at the same time it is a personal choice and I am not really big on taking that away from people.  There are issues all over the place, and I just hope that reasonable debate ensues and some ideas are tossed around.
  • Posts: 75
    Gun control will in a way have a bearing on suicide. The fact remains that guns are very impersonal weapons to use and once a bullet discharges after pressing the trigger, there is no going back and the window of registering any pain is quite narrow. Some suicidal people commit homicide and this is on a bigger and faster scale when guns are involved.
  • I had the opportunity to interview a leading expert on suicide and guns last week.  He explained that people who use guns to commit suicide tend to NOT be the folks who have classic signs of depression, etc. (Interesting, I thought). He also said that people who use guns to kill themselves are acting impulsively. This suggests to me that easy access to a gun would facilitate deaths in a population that would not necessarily benefit from mental health services.  Hmmm, a lot to unpack here...
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