Who owned the gun in firearm suicides of men, women, and youth in five US states?

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Who owned the gun in firearm suicides of men, women, and youth in five US states?

Category: Firearm Availability, Men, Suicide, Women, Youth|Journal: Preventive Medicine|Author: C Barber, D Azrael, D Hemenway, M Miller|Year: 2022

One way to reduce firearm suicide is to keep household guns away from a person at risk for suicide. To learn who owned (and presumably controlled access to) the guns used in suicide and which broad gun type they were, we examined National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) data from 2015 to 2017 for five US states that supplied information on gun owner in over 80% of firearm suicides (AK, IA, NH, UT, WI). For adult males, 88% used their own gun; for women, 52% used their own gun and 32% used their partner’s gun; for youth ages 18–20, 42% used their own gun, 43% used a family member’s, and 8% used a friend’s; for children, 19% used their own gun (usually a long gun) and 79% used a family member’s gun. Almost 3/4 of firearm suicides involved a handgun, ranging from 62% for youth to 92% for women. In times of suicide risk, interventions for a youth should address not only the parents’ guns, but those of other family members and the youth’s own rifle or shotgun. For a woman, interventions need to address her own and her partner’s guns. For a man, locking guns alone will confer little protection if he controls the keys or combination. Storing firearms—or a critical component—away from home or having someone else control the locks may be safer. Five NVDRS states provided useful data on who owned the gun used in firearm suicides. More NVDRS states should follow suit.

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