The New York Times:
The grisly carnage from mass shootings regularly attracts the nation’s focus as a public safety issue, if only fleetingly. But the highest death toll from guns by far continues to be the far less noticed wave of suicides — nearly 20,000 a year — by Americans whose easy access to guns presents an irresistible temptation in a critical moment of despair.
Suicide accounts for two-thirds of the 30,000-plus gun deaths each year, as more than half of all suicides are carried out by firearms, according to the latest federal data.
If it takes a sensational statistic to spur national concern about such self-destruction, consider the latest research showing that 82 percent of teenage suicides by firearms involve guns left poorly secured or foolishly unprotected by members of their families. These young lives are impulsively lost in supposedly safe home environments, where just the presence of a gun has been found to increase the risk of suicide three times, according to a new report by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun safety organization.
The report also notes that 85 percent of people attempting suicide by gun succeed, while drug overdose, the main method chosen for suicide attempts, is fatal only 2 percent of the time. Ninety percent of those who fail in a suicide attempt embrace their second chance at life and do not eventually die by suicide.
As somebody who has worked the hotline and dealt with people going through depression, I can certainly attest to the fact that surviving suicide has less to do with access to therapeutic intervention than it does to the lack of access to guns.
I have taken the call from a person who took prescription medication and needed help. They lived.
But the person with the gun rarely takes the time to call. And if they do it is often only so that somebody can listen to bang as they end their pain.
I knew a young woman whose first and last day manning the phones involved such an incident.
I am all for making it harder to get assault style weapons (What kind of idiot needs one of those anyhow?), and increasing the number and effectiveness of background checks, but I also would like to see laws passed that held people accountable for injuries and deaths caused by guns that they own.
If you have a gun laying around your house, easily accessible, and somebody uses it to take a life, even their own, then you do jail time. Period.
And yes I know that when people talk suicide that the knee jerk reaction from gun nuts is to start talking for the need to increase mental health services. But let me explain that most gun suicides are due to temporary depression, and NOT long term mental illness.
You could throw trillions of dollars into funding mental illness (And I wish they would because I could use a raise.), and it will do NOTHING to stop people from killing themselves or others with guns.
No you stop gun deaths by reducing the number of guns, and holding gun owners accountable for the violence caused by their guns. In my opinion it is as simple as that.