A+ A- Reset

Access to Firearms and Suicide Plans

Betz, M., Barber, C., & Miller, M. Suicidal behavior and firearm access: Results from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 41(4), 384-391.

A research team using data from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey concluded that people living in homes in which firearms are present are seven times more likely to have a suicide plan involving firearms than people reporting suicide plans living in homes in which firearms are not present. In an article summarizing the results of their research, team members reported that “we found that – among those with a suicidal plan – those without a firearm in the home were significantly more likely to have a plan to overdose on medication, while those with a firearm were significantly more likely to have a plan to use a firearm.” The authors suggested that their finding reinforces “the importance of reducing a suicidal person’s access to firearms” as well as counseling family members about this issue, since suicide attempts involving firearms are far more likely to be lethal than attempts using other methods, including drug overdoses.

The study also revealed that people living in homes in which firearms are present are no more likely to experience suicidal ideation, plans, or attempts than others. Of those people who had made a suicide plan in the past 12 months, 31 percent reported a plan involving a drug overdose; 13 percent reported a plan involving a firearm; and 12 percent reported a plan involving jumping from a height. Seven percent of the respondents reported suicidal thoughts in the past year. Of those reporting suicidal thoughts, 21 percent also reported having a suicide plan. The Second Injury Control and Risk Survey is a nationally representative telephone survey conducted in 2001-2003.

Link to Abstract