Within the US, veterans exhibit an elevated suicide rate, with firearms serving as the most common method. Research has demonstrated that several state laws regulating handgun ownership are associated with lower suicide rates.
Publicly available databases were utilized to extract relevant data.
Statewide veteran population rates (per 100,000) predicted overall suicide rates, firearm suicide rates, and the proportion of suicides by firearms. Furthermore, the association between veteran population and overall suicide rate was largely explained by the elevated proportion of suicides by firearms in states with higher veteran populations. Lastly, results demonstrated states without handgun legislation in place exhibited higher veteran populations.
Findings indicate veterans may impact statewide suicide rates through their propensity to use firearms as their method and that the tendency for veterans to live in states without handgun legislation may exacerbate this phenomenon.