Gun ownership increases suicide risk in US

New York, May 20 (IANS) Gun ownership has led to higher gun-related suicides in the US, says a study, suggesting that lowering the firearms ownerships can reduce such incidences.

Firearm ownership was a significant predictor of firearm suicide rates in men which increased 3.3 per 100,000 for each 10 percent increase in gun ownership.

For women, firearm suicide rates increased 0.5 per 100,000 for each 10 percent increase in gun ownership.

“Our study adds to the consistent finding that among both men and women, increased prevalence of firearms is clearly associated with an increase in the firearm-specific suicide rate,” said lead study author Michael Siegel from Boston University’s School of Public Health.

While gun homicides are more frequently reported, the number of gun suicides per year is almost twice as high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The team analysed participants for 33 years from 1981 to 2013 to find association between gun ownership and gender-specific suicides rates among the 50 US states.

The findings showed an association between gun ownership rates and suicides by any means (including non-gun-related acts) among men but not women.

“Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, and firearm-related deaths and injuries are extraordinarily costly, reducing firearm-related self-injury and suicide is a public health imperative,” added co-author Emily Rothman in a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Reductions in the prevalence of firearms may be an effective strategy for reducing overall and firearm-related suicides among males and for reducing firearm-related suicides among women,” the authors noted.

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