Facts About Suicide and Gun Violence

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FACT: Suicide is still the leading cause of firearm death in the U.S. In 2007, the U.S. firearm suicide total was 17,352 an increase from the 2006 national gun suicide number of 16,883. The state of Illinois saw a 13.7% INCREASE in gun suicides from 372 in 2006 to 423 in 2007. Over half of suicides in the U.S. are committed with firearms.

(Numbers obtained from CDC National Center for Health Statistics mortality report online, 2010. The most recent year for which the data is currently available is 2007.)

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FACT: More than half of all suicides in the U.S. are committed with firearms. In 2007, 55.6% of all suicides in the U.S. were committed with guns. Firearm suicides represented 41% of all suicides committed in Illinois for 2007.

(Numbers obtained from CDC National Center for Health Statistics mortality report online, 2010)

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FACT: In 2007, a total of 683 young Americans ages 10-19 committed suicide with firearms, a decrease of 11% from the 2006 total of 763 youth gun suicides. Unlike suicide attempts using other methods, suicide attempts with guns are nearly always fatal, meaning a temporarily depressed teenager will never get a second chance at life. Nearly two-thirds of all completed teenage suicides involve a firearm.

(Numbers obtained from CDC National Center for Health Statistics mortality report online, 2010.)

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FACT: Access to lethal means, especially firearms, greatly increases the likelihood that someone will commit suicide. A gun in the home is 11 times more likely to be used to attempt or commit a suicide than to be used in self-defense.

(Arthur Kellerman, Journal of Trauma, August 1998)

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FACT: Homes with guns are 5 times more likely to experience the suicide of a household member than homes without guns.

(Kellerman AL, Rivara FP, Somes G et al. “Suicide in the home in relation to gun ownership.” New England Journal of Medicine, 1992;327:467-72)

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FACT: On average, 68% of suicides for youth ages 15-24 are committed with guns.

(American Association of Suicidology, Washington, DC, 1998; John McIntosh, 1995 Statistical Training Aides)

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FACT: Unlike suicide attempts using other methods, 92% of suicide attempts with guns are fatal, meaning a temporarily depressed teenager will never get a second chance at life.

(Wintemute, et. al., “The Choice of Weapons in Firearm Suicides,” American Journal of Public Health, Vol 78, No. 7, July 1988, p. 824)

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FACT: 48% of gun-owning households with children do NOT regularly make sure that guns are equipped with child safety locks or other trigger locks.

(Peter Hart Research Associates Poll, July 1999)