Fraction of Suicides with Firearms Compared to per Capita Firearms in U.S.A.

By Dean Weingartensuicide-graph-improved-with-source

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- The number of firearms in private hands has been rising for at least 70 years.  During the last 20, the numbers of murders, murders with guns, and violent crime with guns has been dropping sharply.  It has become very hard to say that more guns equal more crime with a straight face.  Fatal gun accidents are at an unprecedented low.  The rate of fatal gun accidents has dropped 94% in 85 years.

The response of those who wish to disarm the public has been to focus on suicides.  They lump in suicides with murders and accidents and call the whole mismash “gun violence”.  But if you look at the actual numbers of suicides committed with guns, you come to an understanding at odds with the gun haters narrative.  As the number of guns per capita has increased, the percentage of suicides with guns has dropped.

The percentage of suicides with guns held steady, with a little spike in 1997, likely associated with a record keeping change to tighten up the data input. But from 1997 on, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of suicides committed with guns.

Guns were chosen for .58 of all suicides in 1981, the fraction of suicides committed with guns rose to a high of .61 from 1990 to 1997 (the high point of homicides was 1993-95), then started a long decline ending at .49, the record low, in 2014.

More guns have not increased the fraction of suicides committed with guns over several economic cycles.

The rates of suicide used are those from the Center for Disease Control WISQARS data base.  The CDC adjusted the rates to account for changing age distributions.  The age correction does not make a large difference. It removes the variation associated with changing percentages of various age groups over the decades examined.

The number of private firearms was calculated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) numbers, using the method developed by Newton and Zimring, expanded on by Gary Kleck in “Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America”.  Census figures were used to determine the per capita numbers.

As there are many easily substituted methods for committing suicide, this is not surprising.  Many nations with small numbers of guns and political gun control that is very harsh, have suicide rates far higher than the United States.

Suicide is a matter of many other factors that operate independent of the number of guns in society.  When someone commits suicide with a gun, it is fairly obvious.  When someone commits suicide with a car or motorcycle, or by lying down on a railroad track, it is not nearly as obvious and is likely to be ruled accidental.  A correspondent on The Truth About Guns noted that suicides in Australia did not drop as initially reported.  They were misclassified.

In short not only were half of decreased gun suicide immediately replaced by other means known suicide – Australia also saw a sharp and immediate increase in self caused fatal “accident” death associated with suicide. Unless one posits another reason for an immediate increase in Australians driving alone into abutments and trees, taking “accidental” fatal overdose, falling onto train tracks, falling out of windows, in 1997s and after, it is clear there was no drop in suicide, just a increase in suicide by replacement methods and an increase suicide means that were incorrectly tabulated.

The correspondent backs up his assertions with this link and quote:

”What that revision of ABS data will show us is that really we have gone nowhere in terms of overall reductions from the peaks in suicide rates in the early 1990s, and we have certainly gone nowhere among reducing suicide in indigenous populations. They remain four times higher overall,” Professor Mendoza said.

Governments had done little more than the bare minimum to prevent deaths, said Dawn O'Neil, chief executive officer of Lifeline.

”Once we got confirmation the rates were not coming down … the Government didn't want to know, politically they wanted to believe that the suicide rates were falling.”

It sounds much like the United States.  “Studies” that support the political narratives preferred by the powerful social engineers, are touted.  Those that do not follow the party line, are sidelined.

Claiming that harsh restrictions on guns will reduce suicides is a dead end. It is being used as an emotional tool to obtain something else that is desired, a disarmed population.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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freewillRobert HartwigTionicoSilence DogoodOldCowboy Recent comment authors
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Silence Dogood
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Silence Dogood

And, it’s a fraction of a fraction of the 400,000 patients “murdered” annually by the Medical Community in the name of treatment. These 400,000 are just behind the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular (heart attack & stroke) and by cancer each year.

Big Bill
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Big Bill

Irontiger: The idea that there are fewer people buying guns doesn’t match up with several surveys I’ve seen, and reports from trainers. They say there are more new gun owners than ever before. The idea you put forward could well have a very reasonable cause: there are fewer people willing to tell some voice at the other end of a phone call that they own guns. As far as your claim that there are more gun suicides than ever shows a lack of understanding of how such trends are displayed. As the population increases and the RATE of an action… Read more »

freewill
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freewill

information about firearm purchases is coming from the FBI back ground checks..nobody is going to admit they are armed when somebody calls and asks!!..you should go back to bed with Sarah Brady!!

Irontiger
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Irontiger

This old turd is such a liar. There are more guns in LESS hands, screw this “per capita” bulls**t. “More guns equals less crime” is the rallying cry of simpletons and morons, made ridiculous by this simple fact.

The rest of his argument is bulls**t as well, the opposite is true, there are more suicides by guns today than ever before.

But if it’s OK by this jerk and the rest of you that more gun owners are putting bullet in their brains it’s OK by me.

OldCowboy
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OldCowboy

Irontiger, you are so full of “IT” and yourself that you don’t even make sense. Take your meds and go back to bed.

Tionico
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Tionico

well, tiger, my personal knowledge matches that of FNI and BATF on this one. Ten years ago I think I knew a half dozen people who owned any guns at all. Today, hanging with mostly the same crowd, I know probably a couple hundred who own… and did not then. And many of them don’t just own “a gun”. No, they own several, some of them own dozens. And I think I only knew one who owned a handgun (I owned none ten years ago) and today I know probably eighty who own handguns, and also bothered to endure the… Read more »

Tionico
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Tionico

well, tiger, my personal knowledge matches that of FNI and BATF on this one. Ten years ago I think I knew a half dozen people who owned any guns at all. Today, hanging with mostly the same crowd, I know probably a couple hundred who own… and did not then. And many of them don’t just own “a gun”. No, they own several, some of them own dozens. And I think I only knew one who owned a handgun (I owned none ten years ago) and today I know probably eighty who own handguns, and also bothered to endure the… Read more »

Tionico
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Tionico

Retailers report massive increase in people buying their first guns, getting formal training even when not required by law, firing ranges are doing a booming business (go ahead, groan at that pun, it was just for YOU) with novice shooters. I’ve been involved with a marksmanship training programme for some years now, and have seen dozens of brand new shooters show up and go away after two days of instruction able to put that round where they want to, calmly, efficiently, and quickly. So take yer whinge about more guns in fewer hands and bury it. Its dead/ And WHY… Read more »

Tionico
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Tionico

Retailers report massive increase in people buying their first guns, getting formal training even when not required by law, firing ranges are doing a booming business (go ahead, groan at that pun, it was just for YOU) with novice shooters. I’ve been involved with a marksmanship training programme for some years now, and have seen dozens of brand new shooters show up and go away after two days of instruction able to put that round where they want to, calmly, efficiently, and quickly. So take yer whinge about more guns in fewer hands and bury it. Its dead/

freewill
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freewill

wheres your facts come from?mine comes from legitimate sources..44k suicides, 19k involve a firearm! thats less than half!!! you are a collaborator!..how does 46 countrys have a higher suicide rate?..using your logic, guns are banned, so there shouldnt be any suicides!!.

Robert Hartwig
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Robert Hartwig

Sorry you lie. The number of gun owners has increased over 20 % (maybe more) in the last 20 years. The number of guns owned has also increased. In my family alone there are three more gun owners then 10 years ago.

freewill
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freewill

The FBI has conducted over 70 million back ground checks since 2009, we have to assume those were purchases, so your figure of 20% is way low

freewill
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freewill

worldlifeexpectancy.com ranks the US 47th in suicides,12.4 per 100k.. 46 countrys with higher suicide rates have strict gun controls, people simply find other ways to kill themselves..also, the number of suicides hover around 44k deaths annually, 19k, less than half involve a firearm, people simply find other ways to kill themselves…Japan ranks 8th in suicides, jumping is the preferred method, the Japanese government is now charging the families for the clean up, old hiway 666 between Farmington and Gallup New Mexico is the suicide hiway, Indians sit in the middle of the road at night, the American Indian has the… Read more »

Irontiger
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Irontiger

There is less social stigma in Japan against suicide than in the United States, take that out of the equation and there would probably be far more in this country. I don’t say definitely but probably, but you apparently want to make it easier for people to commit suicide by putting guns in their hands to do it. As for the prohibition of guns on reservations-it’s likely the federal government did that to prevent the Indians from using their firearms to start shooting white people instead of themselves. I may not condone that possibility but I can certainly understand it;… Read more »

freewill
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freewill

people that want to kill themselves do it, less than half is with a firearm!!…if all guns were banned from the face of the earth, there would still be 44k suicides!!!..the point about the Reservations, the American Indian has the HIGHEST suicide rate..and guns are PROHIBITED, they simply find other ways to kill themselves…Japan has a higher Rate of suicides, no matter how you spin it…they still kill themselves without a gun!!!