Suicide and Guns: Maryland Study Debunks Itself

by Dean Weingarten

Suicide and Guns
Suicide and Guns
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- – As shown in the image above, many countries with extreme gun control have higher suicide rates than the United States. When criminologists showed that murder rates either dropped or remained the same when guns were more easily accessed, proponents of a disarmed society turned to suicide.

Their studies about suicides “caused” by firearms ownership, tend to be junk science. Consider a recent “study” published only with the American Public Health Association. It was done about suicides in Maryland. Maryland is densely populated and has extremely strict gun control.  Only 3.5% of the suicides were in rural areas. The numbers are likely correct, but the interpretation leaves much to be desired. From reuters.com:

In particular, doctors need to pay close attention to gun use and mental health for men, the study results suggest. That’s because 89 percent of the gun-related suicides occurred among men, and because the higher rural suicide rate was only true for men. Firearm suicide rates were 36 percent higher for rural men than urban men. But rural women were 37 percent less likely to commit suicide than urban women, regardless of the method.

The author of the study draws this mind-numbing conclusion, directly in contradiction to the evidence just cited:

 “Access to guns in the home creates a higher risk of suicide for family members whether or not there are known mental health concerns,” Nelson said. “Secure gun storage – locked, preferably in a storage cabinet, and unloaded with ammunition locked up separately – should be routine in gun-owning homes.”

And how is locking up guns and ammunition supposed to prevent suicides, especially by men who preferentially own guns? Another conclusion, likely as valid, is that rural areas with guns prevent women from committing suicide, as the rate of women committing suicide is almost exactly as reduced as the rate of men is increased, in rural areas.

Other possibilities are likely. There are more available women in urban areas. Men with women available are less likely to commit suicide. The obvious conclusion is that more women should be making themselves available in rural areas to keep the suicide rate down. At the same time, the suicide rate for women would be decreased. But that obvious solution is not politically correct. It is much easier to blame inanimate objects such as firearms. Suicide is a complex affair. Countries with lots of guns have a high suicide rate and low suicide rates. Countries with few guns have both high and low suicide rates.  It is the overall suicide rate that matters, not the number of suicides performed with a particular method.

Overall suicide rates in the United States have risen from 11.08 in 1997 to 12.93 in 2014. The number of guns per capita has risen from .97 to 1.21 in the same period. But the percentage of suicides committed with guns decreased from 60% to 49%.

If guns were the cause, you would expect the percentage of suicides with guns to rise, not fall.

Many other methods of suicide are available. A search on the Internet confirms this obvious fact. Web sites are available that describe suicide methods in detail.  The idea that suicides can be meaningfully prevented by requiring guns to be locked up is not proven. It seems decidedly counter-intuitive.  People who have decided on committing suicide are not capable of turning a key?

In Australia, as suicides with guns have dropped, suicides with other methods have risen, just as expected. Suicide rates are not dependent on the availability of a particular method. In a modern society, many methods are commonly available. For Australians, the most common method is strangulation/hanging, with suffocation close behind. Suffocation commonly involves a plastic bag.

A common problem with statistical studies is confirmation bias. Authors of studies find what the expect to find in their work. It appears to be the case here. The medical community has been pushing poor “studies” that promote the strict regulation of firearms for decades.

This appears to be another such effort.

2017 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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Wzrdsilence DogoodBrileyoldvetJim Macklin Recent comment authors
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Wzrd
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Wzrd

As a male in rural Marxland I can confirm there is a lack of available QUALITY women. Or should I say high caliber.

silence Dogood
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silence Dogood

The FACTS have never favored the Gun-Haters. That’s why the Gun-Haters always ignore them.

Tionico
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Tionico

For an interesting study have a good look at the suicide rates between the US and Canada, two very similar countries in many ways. The rates are similar…. but when one compares the methods used, something very interesting shows up. This something will (or should, were they rational, but I contradict myself) concern the makers of THIS study cited in the article. The suicide rates between the two countries using a firearm as the means are radically different… in the US where guns are far more readily available, more take their own lives with firearms. In Canada, where guns, and… Read more »

Vanns40
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Vanns40

Normally I would have just let your comment stand. And while you are correct on all counts you’ve missed the real standout, Japan. With virtually zero firearms ownership they have a suicide rate 45% higher than the US at last read!

oldvet
Guest
oldvet

@Van…Yes every survey I have ever seen forgets to compare death rates in Japan by the blade (knives swords etc.) They have a completely different culture dating back to the samurai when their governing forces outlawed firearms.

oldvet
Guest
oldvet

Do cars without noise suppressors affect suicide ?

Don L. Bailey
Guest
Don L. Bailey

Have you ever had an electric car sneak up on you in a parking lot?

oldvet
Guest
oldvet

@DLB…would that be suicide by surprise ? No not in this part of the country, to much distance between charging stations. When SHTF they will be the first thing abandoned.

Colonialgirl
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Colonialgirl

HEY stupid; There is NO WAY that a FIREARM with a NOISE suppressor is in way shape or fashion comparable to an ELECTRIC vehicle which emits NO NOISE. ALL A Suppressor does is drop the noise from a firearm from 150-160 Decibles down to 120 decibels and THAT is NO WAY as quiet as an electric vehicle. As a MATTER OF FACT, the use of ear protection is HIGHLY recommended even when a suppressor is used.
QUIT swallowing the Hollywood where a 2 inch long “silencer” on the end of a 38 caliber REVOLVER makes it go “phut phut”.

Tionico
Guest
Tionico

no but motorcycles without noise suppressors DO affect those nearby who have NOT committed suicide………

Wzrd
Guest
Wzrd

They make me want to commit murder/suicide.

Jim Macklin
Guest
Jim Macklin

Suicide by cop. Suicide by rope. Suicide by aspirin. Suicide by car wreck.
Let’s outlaw tall buildings, anything over 7 feet tall. High capacity buildings are dangerous.
Statistics don’t lie but liars can do statistics.

Colonialgirl
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Colonialgirl

Do NOT forget the old hose from the exhaust into the passenger compartment; I had a friend over in England (moronic anti-gun land) who killed herself by THAT method.

Jim Macklin
Guest
Jim Macklin

You’d have to be drunk or drugged to sit in car exhaust with oil vapors. Just get a coffin and dry ice and pretend to be a vampire sleeping in te day time. [It was an episode of LAW AND ORDER CI]

Briley
Guest
Briley

Ditto. I had a friend that did the same thing. She tried slashing her wrists, hanging herself and, finally, the exhaust method. Odd thing though, her father was a cop and she had both knowledge and access to guns. Go figure.

Vanns40
Guest
Vanns40

As the author has proved, once again, garbage in, garbage out. He stated it perfectly when he said that when you start a study with a predisposed bias you work forward until you prove whatever your particular bias is.

Pistol Packin Preacher
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Pistol Packin Preacher

@Vanns40 very good comment, you can even twist the Holy scriptures to prove its ok to hate your mother and father Luke 14 but of course it is out of context and simply means to put your loyalty and love in order and that is God first then parents etc etc. The work wicked in the Greek is wicca which is where we get the English word wicked. It means to take the truth and twist it like wicker furniture to say and serve you in any way you want rather than for what God set in order. Just sayin… Read more »