Lethal Means


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Lethal Means
Lethal Words
Lethal Means and Primary Care
Firearm: Legal Liability
Suicides by Firearm by Sex 2003-2023
Suicide Notes
Solutions to gun violence
CDC Provisional Data: Gun Suicides Reach All-time High in 2022, Gun Homicides Down Slightly from 2021
Oregon Emergency Room Data Shows Firearm Injuries Are Now Twice As Common - 1022/22
Suicidal Ideation Among Individuals Who Have Purchased Firearms During COVID-19 - 11/16/20
Statement for the American Association of Suicidology Regarding the Role of Firearms in Suicide and the Importance of Means of Safety in Preventing Suicide Deaths
Reduce Access to Means of Suicide
One patient at a time, this Wash U program works to reduce gun suicides
Why Aren't We Talking About Suicide When We Talk About Gun Violence?
Suicide, Guns, and Public Health
Research on limiting access to lethal means in suicidal patients
The Potentially Lifesaving Difference in How a Gun Is Stored
Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries 5/18/20 (8 page PDF) 
Lethal Means & Suicide Prevention: A Guide for Community & Industry Leaers (24 page PDF)
How to Address Firearm Safety with the Rural Suicidal Patient - Clackamas County, February, 2019 (18 page PDF)
How to Address Firearm Safety with the Rural Suicidal Patient (30 page PDF)
Lethal Means & Suicide Prevention: A Guide for Community & Industry Leaders
Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business: A Toolkit for Safe Firearm Storage in Your Community (24 page PDF)
How to Address Firearm Safety with the Rural Suicidal Patient
New resources to help Veterans understand lethal means safety
Lethal Words - From the Crisis Text Line that have been found to be more lethal than the word suicide from a texter.
Youth Gun Safety

Why Primary Care?

  • Persons who die by suicide are more likely to have seen their primary care provider in the days before their death than any other health care provider.
  • 64% of those who die by suicide have seen their primary care provider within one year of death (Ahmedani et al., 2014)
  • 45% have had contact within one month (Luomo, Martin & Pearson, 2002)
  • Primary Care Providers can:
    • Identify warning signs
    • Engage patients in life-saving treatments
    • Provide referrals to behavioral health
    • Connect patients with emergency services
    • Provide continuity of care for patients with suicide risk

The problem of the suicidal patient in Primary Care

  • Short appointments, pace of Primary Care
  • Hand on the doorknob comment
  • Very little, if any, training on how to assess risk and develop a safety plan
    • Who can go home with a safety plan?
    • Who needs to be hospitalized
  • Asking the question/screening for suicidal ideation/plan, then not knowing what to do if the answer is “yes” (Create a protocal.)

A moral imperative

  • The data indicate that Primary Care providers need to take action
  • Preventing suicide is a community responsibility
  • The role of the PCP in preventing suicide has been underemphasized

How to identify suicidal patients

  • Screen for depression, every patient, every visit using PHQ2 with reflex to PHQ9
    • PHQ2: Over the past two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?
      • 1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
      • 2. Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
    • PHQ9: first two questions, plus seven more. Question 9: Thoughts you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself
  • Use the Columbia screening tool (there is a primary-care specific tool)
  • Ask specifically about suicidal thoughts and plan
  • How to ask
  • Patient is usually relieved you asked
  • Ask about method and means
  • Ask about any other method and means, keep asking until there are no more
  • If patient denies having a method in mind, ask “If you did have an idea about how you would kill yourself, what would it be?”

Assess risk

  • A continuum
    • Thoughts with no plan
    • Thoughts with vague plan
    • Thoughts with plan but no means (careful with this one)
    • Thoughts with plan and means
  • Assess risk factors
  • Assess protective factors

Protective factors

  • Social support
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide
  • Having children
  • Problem solving skills
  • Restricted access to lethal means
  • Responsibilities towards others

What to do with the hot potato: keep the patient safe

  • Leverage protective factors
  • Remove access to lethal means, if possible
    • Particularly firearms – 60% of suicides
    • This can be a tricky conversation, be careful how you bring it up (more on this later)
  • Elicit the help of family/friends that patient identifies
  • Full safety plan
  • Crisis team/911 if patient is in imminent danger of dying by suicide

Primary Care Toolkit

  • Role of Primary Care
  • Office Protocols/Roles and Responsibilities
  • Assessing Risk/Safety Planning/Follow up
  • Referral/Community Collaborations
  • Training


Research on limiting access to lethal means in suicidal patients

  • Not a pro-gun or anti-gun issue.
  • Important to temporarily limit access to guns when individuals are in crisis.
  • Need to make it socially acceptable for friends and family members to hold onto a potentially suicidal gun owner’s weapon until the crisis has passed.
  • Discourse about limiting access to firearms gives rise to constitutional concerns and political polarization (Caine, 2013), often accentuated in rural areas.
  • The “culture gap” is that which may emerge between a firearm owner and the perceived ideologically different system of power that one encounters in a primary care setting – often tied to the idea of “big” and more “liberal” (and hence anti-gun) government.

Research hypothesis

• Discussions that occur in primary care settings about patients voluntarily limiting access to firearms during periods of suicidal ideation will achieve successful outcomes if culturally appropriate messaging about firearm safety is identified and implemented.


  • Interviews with 39 adult owners of firearms
  • 22 men 17 women
  • 5 focus groups and 4 key informant interviews
  • Questions designed to understand the culture of gun ownership in rural communities
  • Conducted in La Pine and Prineville, Oregon


• Guns are Pervasive: members of this demographic own multiple firearms, many loaded at all times, often not locked or not stored in secure locations.

• Firearm Safety: most frequently cited basis of firearm safety has been explicit training of children and young adults, primarily through instruction from family members, and secondarily through formal firearms safety courses.

• Firearm Taboo: highly inappropriate to ask someone where they keep their guns, how many guns they have, and other details of firearm ownership and safety in the home.

• The above suggests that traditional, public health driven, firearm safety discourses (e.g. store ammunition separately from weapons, use a gun safe, impersonal physician in-take forms) may be ineffective for at least some portion of the gun-owning population.

• Crisis Situations: in discussions of actual and hypothetical mental health crises with the potential for suicide, trust in the person asking the individual to relinquish their firearm is deemed fundamental. A trusted friend or family member can successfully breach the Firearm Taboo.

• Trust in Primary Care: extremely important; point blank questions about firearm ownership (including intake checklists) or means restriction from someone who has not established trust are often perceived as threatening and antagonistic; fear of reporting to a government registry, especially among veterans.

• Suicide Prevention as an Expression of Cultural Values: optimism about efficacy of making culturally-appropriate resources available in a primary care setting; means restriction would be treated as a basic extension of cultural values that emphasize firearm safety (rather than “loss of access”) and care for friends and family.

Message testing for patient education material

  • Three messages tested:
    • 1. Standard public health message
    • 2. Culturally informed message (some of the language suggested by focus group
    • participants)
    • 3. Combination of standard public health message and culturally informed message
  • 817 respondents


  • Standard message + culturally informed message resulted in the greatest likelihood of temporarily removing guns for family member, friends or self if contemplating suicide.
  • Standard message + culturally informed message resulted in the greatest likelihood of the person speaking about firearm ownership with their physician.
  • Results strongest for those who were politically conservative, living in rural areas, and those in favor of gun rights.


  • Culturally informed messaging about limiting access to firearms is more impactful on gun owners than a message that ignores cultural norms.
  • The effect was greater on individuals who more strongly identified as conservatives and who more strongly advocated for gun rights – suggesting that a targeted approach to this messaging intervention may be most effective.
  • Information can influence people’s decisions – if information comes from a trusted source.
  • Trust can be established when values are affirmed and culturally appropriate language is used.

Links to Firearm Safety Toolkit

Source: www.ohsu.edu/sites/default/files/2019-05/2018%20Forum%20How%20to%20Address%20Firearm%20Safety%20with%20the%20Rural%20Suicidal%20Patient.pdf

Suicidal Ideation Among Individuals Who Have Purchased Firearms During COVID-19

Given the increase in firearm purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study seeks to determine the extent to which COVID-19 firearm purchasers differ in terms of suicide risk from nonfirearm owners and firearm owners who did not make a purchase during COVID-19.


Participants (N=3,500) were recruited through Qualtrics Panels to participate in an online survey examining methods for self-protection. ANCOVAs were utilized to assess suicidal ideation. Multivariate ANCOVAs were used to examine firearm storage practices and storage changes during COVID-19. Data were collected in late June and early July 2020, and analyses were conducted in July 2020.


Individuals who purchased a firearm during COVID-19 more frequently reported lifetime, past-year, and past-month suicidal ideation than nonfirearm owners and firearm owners who did not make a purchase during COVID-19. COVID-19 purchasers with lifetime ideation were less likely to hide loaded firearms in a closet than those without lifetime ideation. COVID-19 purchasers with past-year or past-month ideation were more likely to use locking devices than COVID-19 purchasers without past-month ideation.


In contrast to firearm owners more generally, COVID-19 firearm purchasers appear far more likely to have experienced suicidal ideation and appear less likely to use certain unsafe firearm storage methods but also report a greater number of storage changes during COVID-19 that made firearms less secure. Future research should seek to further understand those who purchased a firearm during COVID-19 and determine ways to increase secure storage among firearm owners.


In late 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged. Local and federal governments have enforced social distancing in an effort to slow the spread. Such interventions physically separate people, which is an effective method for preventing the spread of infectious diseases.1, 2, 3 However, some interventions may also lead to unintended consequences such as unemployment and social isolation, which are risk factors for suicide.4,5 Indeed, indicators of poor mental health nationwide have been increasing in severity during the pandemic.6 This has led to concerns regarding increased suicide risk.5,7

Another consequence of the pandemic is increased firearms sales in the U.S. An estimated 2 million firearms were purchased in March 2020,8 and >2.5 million Americans became first-time gun owners during the first 4 months of 2020.9 The increase in firearm purchases is concerning given the association between firearms and suicide.10 Firearm ownership is robustly associated with suicide (e.g., mental illness11). Suicide is 3 times more likely in homes with firearms,12 and the risk is increased for all household members.13 Risk for suicide surges by 100-fold immediately after the purchase of a handgun.14 In addition, unsafe firearm storage (e.g., loaded and unlocked) increases the risk.15,16 Furthermore, in some populations (e.g., service members), suicidal firearm owners are more likely to store firearms unsafely.17,18

Thus far, it is unknown whether those who have and have not purchased a firearm during COVID-19 differ in terms of suicide risk. One study utilizing a convenience sample (N=1,105) from Amazon's Mechanical Turk conducted in the opening week of May 2020 found few demographic differences between individuals who had and those who had not purchased firearms in the initial months of the pandemic. This survey, however, did not assess for suicidal ideation and included purchases that predated the initial surge of COVID-19 cases.19 COVID-19 firearm purchasers may be at particularly heightened risk given their recent purchase and pandemic-related consequences compared with other firearm owners and nonfirearm owners. Furthermore, individuals motivated to purchase firearms during COVID-19 may represent a different group of individuals, perhaps driven by anxiety potentially accompanied by a history of suicidal ideation. In this sense, a cohort effect could exist, resulting in a higher-risk group of individuals driving the firearm purchasing surge, thereby introducing long-term suicide risk into the homes of individuals who otherwise may not have acquired firearms. This study seeks to determine the extent to which those who acquired firearms during COVID-19 differ from those who did not in terms of suicide risk. Exploratory analyses examine whether suicidal ideation is associated with less-safe storage methods more generally and storage changes specifically during COVID-19. Each of these analyses is considered on the basis of lifetime suicidal ideation, past-year suicidal ideation, and past-month suicidal ideation. Given that many of the firearms purchased during COVID-19 will remain in homes after the pandemic, these findings may have implications for firearm safety and suicide prevention efforts beyond the context of the current moment.


Study Sample

Participants were 3,500 U.S. residents (51.5% female, mean age=46.09 years, 66.5% White) recruited using Qualtrics Panel, an online survey platform that maintains a database of millions of U.S. residents who have previously volunteered to participate in survey-based studies. Quota sampling was utilized to enroll a sample demographically matched to 2010 Census distributions for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, and education. Panel members were invited to participate in the survey through e-mail invitation, which included a link that redirected them to the study's page. The landing page included information about the study's design, purpose, risks, and benefits. Consent to participate was provided by checking a box indicating consent. After completing the survey, participants were compensated in the form and amount agreed on when they joined the panel. Participants were eligible if they were aged =18 years. The study procedures were reviewed and approved by the necessary review boards.


Demographic information was collected using items assessing age, sex, race, ethnicity, highest educational attainment, and annual household income. Firearm ownership was assessed using a single item asking: Do you currently own a firearm? Acquisition of a firearm during COVID-19 was assessed using an item asking: Have you purchased a firearm during the COVID-19 pandemic? Firearm storage was assessed using an item asking: Which of the following storage procedures do you use for the firearms currently located in or around your home? (select all that are used), with the following answers: gun safe; gun cabinet; locking device (e.g., cable lock, trigger lock); hard cases (e.g., pelican case); hide in closet or drawer, unloaded; hide in a closet or drawer, loaded; and other safety procedure. Reasons for acquiring firearms during COVID-19 were assessed using an item asking: What were your reasons for acquiring a firearm during the COVID-19 pandemic? (choose all that apply). Firearm storage changes during COVID-19 were assessed using an item asking: Have you recently changed your firearm(s) storage practices because of the COVID-19 pandemic? If participants endorsed making changes owing to COVID-19, they were then asked: How has your firearm(s) storage practices changed since COVID-19? (choose all that apply). To determine the level of change, this item was summed such that there was a more secure variable and less secure variable. Possible storage change options included unloaded =1 firearm, loaded =1 firearm, removed locking device from =1 firearm, placed a locking device on =1 firearm, removed =1 firearm from a safe/lock box, placed =1 firearm in a safe/lock box, stored =1 firearm outside the home, stored =1 firearm inside the home, and other. Other was not included in the total. These changes represent an overall number of types of storage changes made across all of an individual's firearms and, as such, cannot be said to represent the storage practice of each individual firearm. Instead, these change variables represent the extent to which individuals made adjustments to storage practices overall during this timeframe and the extent to which such changes involved rendering firearms more or less secure.

Suicidal ideation was assessed with the self-report version of the Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview-Revised.20 This tool assesses for suicidal ideation by asking participants to identify which of 8 different suicide-related thoughts they have experienced in their lifetime, the past year, and the past month. For this study, an individual was considered to have suicidal ideation for a given timeframe if they endorsed any of the 8 suicide-related thoughts during that timeframe.

Statistical Analysis

Between-group differences in reports of experiencing lifetime, past-year, and past-month suicidal ideation were examined using logistic regression. Age, sex, education, and annual household income served as covariates. Differences in general firearm storage practices were considered using chi-square analyses. Changes in storage practices specifically during COVID-19 were examined using a series of multivariate ANCOVAs.


The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge in firearm sales across the U.S. and has raised concerns about long- and short-term increases in suicide.5,6 Developing a clear understanding of the extent to which COVID-19 firearm purchasers differ from other firearm owners—and nonfirearm owners—with respect to suicide risk could inform data-driven steps toward reducing risk. Given the limited time that has transpired since the initial surge of COVID-19, this understanding is currently lacking.

As expected, COVID-19 firearm purchasers reported lifetime, past-year, and past-month suicidal ideation with far greater frequency than both firearm owners who have not purchased firearms during COVID-19 and nonfirearm owners. These findings indicate that individuals already at risk for death by suicide are introducing a pronounced risk factor for suicide into their homes during a time of extended social isolation, economic uncertainty, and general upheaval. This combination of factors does not guarantee an increase in suicide rates but represents an unusually large surge in the risk made more troubling by the fact that firearms purchased during COVID-19 may remain in the homes beyond the pandemic.14 Firearm owners who have not purchased firearms during COVID-19 did not differ from nonfirearm owners with respect to suicidal ideation, which is consistent with previous research and highlights that COVID-19 firearm purchasers may represent a distinctly high-risk group.21 It may be that anxiety is driving the firearm purchasing surge, consistent with the finding that protection at or away from home were the most common reasons endorsed for purchasing a firearm during COVID-19. This also aligns with previous research.19 That same anxiety could partially explain the elevated frequency of suicidal ideation and indicate that demographic patterns of firearm purchasing have been different during COVID-19. Such interpretations need to be considered within the context of a notable limitation, however. The data did not allow confident identification of which COVID-19 firearm purchasers represented first-time firearm owners. The difference between purchasing a firearm for the first time and purchasing it for the fifth time, for example, may be quite meaningful. First-time buyers are likely less familiar with safe firearm storage methods. Furthermore, it may be that the motives for purchasing firearms during the pandemic differ between first-time buyers and individuals who have purchased firearms in the past, meaning that important subgroups would exist within the groups considered in these analyses.

The findings regarding storage practices were somewhat mixed. In contrast to research indicating that those at elevated risk for suicide are more likely to store their firearms unsafely,15,16 COVID-19 firearm purchasers who endorsed lifetime or recent suicidal ideation were more likely to utilize a number of specific storage practices that may mitigate suicide risk. Those with lifetime suicidal ideation were less likely to store firearms hidden in a drawer or closet and loaded, and those with past-year or past-month suicidal ideation were more likely to utilize locking devices.

In contrast to findings examining specific storage methods overall, the results recorded when participants were asked specifically about changes made during COVID-19 were complicated. COVID-19 firearm purchasers who endorsed lifetime or past-year suicidal ideation endorsed making a greater number of firearm storage changes that increased ready access to firearms as well as changes that made firearms less readily accessible. In addition, those with past-month suicidal ideation endorsed having made a greater number of firearm storage changes during COVID-19 that rendered firearms more readily accessible than did COVID-19 firearm purchasers who endorsed no past-month suicidal ideation. This may indicate that individuals who purchased firearms during COVID-19 and who are at a higher risk for suicide are more volatile with respect to their storage practices. For some, this may represent a lack of experience and an effort to develop a comfort level with a storage system. For others, this might represent fluctuating levels of anxiety regarding COVID-19 and their need for ready access for protection. Without an understanding of the entire profile of changes made by specific individuals, these findings are difficult to interpret. If the same individual did not only make storage changes that rendered a firearm more accessible but also changes that made that same (or another) firearm less accessible, the overall shift in the level of security would be unclear.


This work had several limitations. First, although the sample was large and matched to the 2010 Census data, quota sampling was used rather than probability-based sampling. Furthermore, the sample of COVID-19 firearm purchasers was small. In addition, although participants were asked why they acquired firearms during COVID-19, it is not definitively clear that their motivations were driven by the pandemic and fundamentally different from what their motivations would have been outside the current context. Protection at or away from home is consistently the most frequently endorsed reason for firearm ownership,22 including both in data that predate COVID-19 and data that partially overlap with COVID-19.19 Economic uncertainty, fears of societal breakdown, and a general sense of threat during uncertain times may influence protective firearm ownership23; however, the extent to which such motivations are COVID-19 specific rather than simply amplified by current events is unclear. Finally, the data did not allow examination of the impact of the racial justice movement taking place during 2020 and, in this sense, was limited in its ability to fully understand the context underlying the firearm purchasing surge. Relatedly, the data could not address the potential impact of the pending Presidential election or recent surges in interpersonal gun violence across the U.S. Nonetheless, the comparison of COVID-19 firearm purchasers with other firearm owners and the general population allowed a novel examination of a timely problem. The use of self-report and cross-sectional data also represents limitations. Finally, the response rate for the survey was unknown, which limits the understanding of the impact of selection bias.


Despite these limitations, these data offer substantial value. Understanding suicide risk among individuals driving the surge in firearm sales is vital for the U.S. to develop a national strategy for combating any potential surge in suicide attempts among firearm owners. The data indicate that these individuals may be more likely to be suicidal than other firearm owners, thereby raising questions about the generalizability of previous research on firearm owners to the current cohort. Indeed, these findings highlight the importance of implementing more rapid data collection and reporting of suicide deaths in the U.S. The current lag in reporting of suicide data precludes a truly effective public health response to this potential risk. A sharp increase in suicide deaths is not an inevitable result of a surge in firearm purchasing, but a sharp increase in firearm acquisitions among suicidal individuals would increase that risk.
Source: www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(20)30471-2/fulltext#seccesectitle0006

The Potentially Lifesaving Difference in How a Gun Is Stored

It could save more children's lives than many legislative efforts that get more attention.

Legislators and gun safety advocates often focus on how guns are purchased. But many lives could be saved, especially among children, if they looked more at how they are stored.

In the last decade, guns killed more than 14,000 American children. A startling number of those deaths — more than a third — were classified as suicides, and around 6 percent as accidents. Many more children were injured.

Nearly everyone agrees that children should not be able to buy guns, and no state lets them do so on their own. When children die by suicide in this way, it’s a result of being able to get hold of a gun that someone else already obtained — often legally.

How guns are stored matters. A study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics has found that even a modest increase in owners who lock up their guns would pay off in an outsize drop in gun deaths.

Dr. Michael Monuteaux, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an author of the study, said, “We need to communicate to parents that storing guns in a way that makes them inaccessible to children can reduce the number of children who die year after year, especially from suicide.”

In 2010, researchers examined who owned the firearms used in youth suicides. In cases where this could be determined, three-quarters of the time the owner was a parent, and for a further 7 percent it was some other relative.

In a 2005 study published in JAMA, researchers found that keeping guns locked and unloaded, and keeping ammunition locked and separate from guns, were significantly associated with lower levels of suicides and accidents among adolescents in gun-owning households. This held true for both handguns and long guns.

But such safety practices aren’t common. If a recent New York bill is signed into law, it will make the state one of just a handful with comprehensive gun storage laws to protect children.

Last year, a study based on a national survey in 2015 found that about one in three of all households in the United States owned at least one gun. Of those households with both guns and children at home, more than 20 percent reported storing them both loaded and unlocked — the least-safe way. An additional 50 percent stored them either loaded or unlocked.

This meant that about 7 percent of all children in the United States lived in a house in which at least one gun was stored in an unsafe manner. This was about twice the number reported in the previous national survey, published in 2002. Other research suggests that many people in gun-owning households, typically not the primary owner of the gun, think they are safely stored when they are not.

Critics of gun-storage laws say homeowners need to be able to act quickly if a criminal tries to enter a home. It’s not easy to measure how often guns are used in self-defense when someone attempts a break-in, but research suggests it’s a rare occurrence.

Suicides are less rare than self-defense shootings and, along with accidents, they are more likely in children who have parents who abuse alcohol. Studies have also found that children living with an adult who misuses alcohol were more likely to live in a house with a gun stored unsafely, and that heavy alcohol use was most common in those who store guns loaded and unlocked.

“We know from prior studies that children who live with alcohol-misusing adults are at a greater risk of suicide attempt, bullying victimization and perpetration, and unintentional injuries,” said Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

Critics also say safe storage laws are hard to enforce because of privacy concerns. As a model from Monday’s study in JAMA Pediatrics shows, though, even a modest intervention that motivates households to safely store guns could reduce youth firearm deaths by 6 percent to 32 percent.

Possible safety measures

Last year, in the journal Injury Prevention, Dr. Rowhani-Rahbar and other researchers reported on the results of two community-based firearm safety events in Washington State. They found that presenting people with information and offering to sell them trigger guards or lockboxes resulted in an increase of about 14 percent of households that stored all guns locked and 9 percent more that stored them unloaded.

In 2017, the Government Accountability Office reviewed 16 public or nonprofit programs that aimed to improve the storage of guns. It also reviewed studies of these programs. It found that distributing locks led to more safely stored guns. Few of these evaluations were rigorous, however. (Gun research, as with most things related to guns, is a politically divisive issue, and for many years research funding has been very low relative to other major causes of death.)

Policy can make a difference, too. In 2004, a study examined how laws that focused on the sale of guns affected the suicide rates of children, compared with laws mandating safe storage of firearms. They found that between 1976 and 2001, minimum-age purchase laws and possession-age laws had no effect on adolescent suicide rates. Laws preventing children’s access to guns, on the other hand, were associated with significant reductions of suicides by guns, even when reductions were not seen in suicides by other methods.

About two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States are suicides, and given political stalemates over gun rights, it seems an area in which policymakers could be more productive. Safer storage of guns, especially in households with children, might make more of a difference than many legislative and advocacy efforts that get more attention.

Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine who blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist and makes videos at Healthcare Triage. He is the author of “The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully.” @aaronecarroll
Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/upshot/gun-safety-children-storage.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

Oregon Emergency Room Data Shows Firearm Injuries Are Now Twice As Common - 1022/22

The number of firearm injuries treated in Oregon emergency departments nearly doubled from 2019 to 2021, according to a statewide report from Oregon Health & Science University.

The report was compiled by the Gun Violence Prevention Research Center at OHSU, a new project focused on using public health data to prevent firearm injuries. Researchers looked at reports of injuries submitted by hospitals to an outbreak detection system known as OR-ESSENCE.

Firearm-related emergency visits increased from 459 in 2019 to 873 in 2021, a 90.2% increase.

The risk of being injured by a gun is by far the highest for men in the 25-44 year age group.

Overall, men experienced seven times the number of emergency visits for firearm injuries compared to women.

The greatest number of firearm injuries were treated in the Portland metro area. But some rural counties — including Douglas County and Jefferson County — had the state’s highest per capita rates of emergency department visits for firearm injuries.

The researchers also tried to look into what was causing firearm injuries.

In about 40% of cases, the data included enough information for researchers to determine why a person had been shot. Unintentional shootings were the most common, followed by assaults and self-harm.

Kathleen Carlson, director of the Gun Violence Prevention Research Center, said she is trying to learn more about the contexts in which unintentional firearm injuries are occurring in Oregon. She suspects the issue may be particularly acute in rural parts of the state where guns are widely considered a tool of everyday life, but where many people have not had recent training or adopted the safety culture that’s found in many gun clubs and shooting ranges.

“The injuries we read about in the electronic health records strike me as injuries occurring where safety may not be prioritized in the way that safety is taught in those facilities,” she said.

Carlson said she doesn’t yet have any data on how well gun safety training works in Oregon, but she thinks training requirements are among the strategies that could reduce injuries.

“There are ways to systematically prevent people from hurting themselves if you can look at it from a systems lens, rather than an individual and negligence kind of lens,” she said.

Safety classes are among the requirements listed in a proposed new gun regulation measure under consideration by Oregon voters this fall.
Source: www.thelundreport.org/content/oregon-emergency-room-data-shows-firearm-injuries-are-now-twice-common?mc_cid=893146d119&mc_eid=159a8ce54b

CDC Provisional Data: Gun Suicides Reach All-time High in 2022, Gun Homicides Down Slightly from 2021

In 2022, the gun suicide rate among Black teens surpassed the rate among white teens for the first time on record

Newly released provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that gun death rates in 2022 remained near highs not seen since the mid-90s and, in addition, rates have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Guns remained the leading cause of death for children and teens in 2022. The rate of gun deaths among this group climbed 87% in the last decade (2013-2022). The data also showed gun violence continuing to have a disproportionate impact on Black children and teens, who have a gun homicide rate 20 times higher than their white counterparts. Additionally, the nation’s overall gun suicide rate increased 1.6%, reaching an all-time high, and for the first time, the gun suicide rate among Black teens surpassed the rate among white teens.

The analysis of the new data was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. The CDC makes provisional data available each year ahead of final numbers. Historically, the changes between provisional numbers, which are released in the summer, and final numbers, which are released in the winter, are minor.

Overall gun death rate decreases, number of gun suicides reaches all-time high

According to the provisional CDC data, 48,117 people died by guns in 2022, an average of one person every 11 minutes. The overall gun death rate declined 1.9% in 2022 from 2021. While this overall decrease in the gun death rate was small in relative terms, 713 fewer people died by guns in 2022 compared to 2021. This provisional data illustrates that the 2020 spike in gun violence seen during the COVID-19 pandemic has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Overall, including this new provisional data for 2022, gun deaths are up 21% since 2019.

The gun homicide rate decreased 6.8% in 2022, with 1,366 fewer gun homicides in 2021. Even with this decrease, 19,592 people were killed by a gun in 2022, the second-highest gun homicide rate since 1995. Although the surge in gun homicides appears to have leveled off, the 2022 gun homicide rate is still 35% higher than it was in 2019. If the gun homicide rate had remained at 2019 levels, approximately 5,000 fewer people would have been killed in 2022.

Gun suicides continued to reach all-time highs, increasing 1.6% from a previous record in 2021; 26,993 people died by gun suicide in 2022. While the increase in gun homicides has gained public awareness, less attention has been paid to the growing epidemic of gun suicides – which historically make up the majority of gun deaths. The gun suicide rate has steadily increased, nearly uninterrupted, since 2006. In 2021 it reached the highest levels since the CDC began recording such data in 1968; and this past year, in 2022, it surpassed that record.

Guns remain the leading cause of death for children and teens

Guns were the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1-19) in this country for the fifth straight year. The rate of gun deaths in this group fell slightly, by 3% from 2021, a total of 4,590 deaths in 2022. It remains near record highs – 2022's gun death rate for children and teens was the second highest rate in 25 years behind 2021. In the past decade (2013-2022), the gun death rate among children and teens has increased 87%. Both gun homicides and suicides fueled this increase.

Guns continue to disproportionately impact Black children and teens

In 2022, Black children and teens were 20 times as likely to die by firearm homicide compared to their white counterparts.

In 2022, the gun suicide rate among Black children and teens (age 10-19) surpassed the rate among white children and teens (age 10-19) for the first time on record. Historically, white children and teens have had higher gun suicide rates than their Black counterparts. The Black child and teen suicide rate tripled over the past two decades (2003-2022).

Evidence-based solutions to reduce the violence

“The provisional data shows that the American epidemic of gun violence persists,” said Ari Davis, policy advisor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. “Guns remain the leading cause of death for children and teens ages 1-19; gun homicides continue to drive deep health inequities by race and ethnicity; and gun suicides continue to take the lives of elderly white men at high rates and increasingly, the lives of Black teens. We are all impacted by this ongoing public health crisis. It is past time for our leaders to enact evidence-based solutions to address it.”

The Center has identified evidence-based policies demonstrated to help reduce gun violence including:

  • Implementing permit-to-purchase laws, also known as gun purchaser licensing.
  • Using Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Extreme Risk Protection Orders—sometimes called “red flag” laws—to temporarily remove firearms from individuals determined to be at elevated risk for violence.
  • Investing in community violence intervention programs.
  • Adopting child access prevention laws mandating safe firearm storage in households with children and/or teens.
  • Enacting stronger concealed carry permitting laws, and repealing “stand-your-ground” laws.

About the data

All provisional data is part of the CDC WONDER database, which is based on death certificates. The CDC is expected to release its finalized 2022 gun violence data this winter. There may be small differences between provisional and final data. In past years, changes have been minor. The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions releases an annual report analyzing the final CDC gun death data. The most recent report, U.S. Gun Violence in 2021: An Accounting of a Public Health Crisis, was released in June 2023.
Source: ublichealth.jhu.edu/2023/cdc-provisional-data-gun-suicides-reach-all-time-high-in-2022-gun-homicides-down-slightly-from-2021

Solutions to gun violence

These policies focus on prevention strategies that, if implemented broadly, would significantly reduce gun-related death and injury.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions uses research to inform advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. Our mission is to bridge the gap between researchers and lawmakers and enact evidence-informed policy to make gun violence rare and abnormal. Our Center, which is composed of research and advocacy experts, has several key policy and programmatic priorities.

Source: publichealth.jhu.edu/departments/health-policy-and-management/research-and-practice/center-for-gun-violence-solutions/solutions

Oregon Firearm Suicides and age-adjusted rates
by sex and year 2003-2023
Use a fireaarm

Source: Red - highest
Oregon County Suicide - By Sex, by Firearm, 2017-2021 www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DiseasesConditions/InjuryFatalityData/Pages/nvdrs.aspx

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