Monday, June 30, 2008

More than half firearm deaths are suicides

More than half firearm deaths are suicides
Story Highlights
Recent Supreme Court ruling on guns focused on protection from home invasion

Suicides accounted for 55 percent of nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005 in U.S.

More gun-related suicides than homicides and accidents in 20 of last 25 years

Research shows if gun in home, higher likelihood of suicide or homicide in home

ATLANTA, Georgia, (AP) -- The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gun ownership last week focused on citizens' ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. But research shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves.

Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation's nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There was nothing unique about that year -- gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the last 25 years. In 2005, homicides accounted for 40 percent of gun deaths. Accidents accounted for 3 percent. The remaining 2 percent included legal killings, such as when police do the shooting, and cases that involve undetermined intent.

Public-health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater.

Studies have also shown that homes in which a suicide occurred were three to five times more likely to have a gun present than households that did not experience a suicide, even after accounting for other risk factors.
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