Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- There have been a number of recent opinion articles that attempted to create a linkage between firearms in society and the rate of suicides in society. The opinion articles contain explicit calls for more regulation of firearms in society, even though most of the policy prescriptions would have no effect on suicides.
- Banning or restriction semi-automatic firearms? Suicides only need a single shot.
- Banning or restricting magazine capacity? Suicides only need one shot. Magazines are superfluous to suicide.
- Reducing the age of sale for semi-automatic rifles? The same lack of logic applies.
The general argument that more guns result in more suicides is false.
Suicide in the United States is primarily a phenomenon of white men. In 2016, 69% of all suicides were white men. Among white men, older men have the most suicides.
Consider the chart. During the Obama administration, gun sales went through the roof. That trend is continuing in the Trump years. While the per capita gun numbers have been increasing over the last decades, the percentage of suicides committed with guns has dropped considerably. It is been relatively level at 50% during the entire Obama administration.
During the same period, the per capita number of guns increased from 1.01 in 2008 to 1.25 in 2016. While the per capita number of guns increased by 24%, the percentage of suicides with guns stayed level.
The total national suicide rate has been on the increase since the turn of the millennium. From 2000 to 2007, the rate increased from 10.44 to 11.27, or .83 per 100k population. In 2016, the rate had increased to 13.42, an increase of 2.15 per 100k population. Most of the increase has been during the Great Recession of the Obama years.
During the Obama years, older white men were vilified. Detesting the white majority was considered legitimate in the media. Older rural and blue-collar white men were especially vilified. Much of their employment had disappeared, and economic hope with it. The Democrats openly pushed economic policies that discriminated against manufacturing and energy production. Consider West Virginia and the coal industry, directly targeted by the Obama administration.
Large numbers of thrifty retirees saw their income plummet as government bond returns fell through the floor. An enormous amount of wealth was transferred from those investing in government bonds to those investing in the stock market. Many saw their death, combined with an insurance premium, as a way to save family members, the family business, or farm.
Many veterans despaired with the attacks on the military, Second Amendment rights, and the flag.
I do not have the data for 2017. When it comes out, I expect to see a decrease in the suicide rate. Older white men are seeing some hope and change. They are not being denigrated by the administration. Veterans believe the administration cares for them. They do not see the country they fought for being transformed into a socialist state. Government bond rates have started to increase.
Suicide rates will go down with the Trump presidency, which gives men hope that they are not forgotten, makes veterans believe they are appreciated, and which has brought back employment and rational policy to the United States.
The suicide numbers for 2017 should come out fairly soon.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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.