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State Gun Regulations and Reduced Gun Ownership are Associated with Fewer Firearm-Related Suicides Among both Juveniles and Adults in the USA

      Highlights

      • What is currently known about this topic?
      The US firearm-related mortality rate exceeds that of other nations, with guns now the leading cause of death among US children. While gun ownership and regulations have been shown to be associated with reduced firearm-related mortality, their impact on firearm-related suicides, especially in children, has not been explored fully.
      • What new information is contained within this article?
      This article explores the association of gun ownership and gun regulations on the rate of firearm-related suicide in both the adult and pediatric populations. Further, the potential reasons behind these findings are discussed. With this evidence-based study, this research seeks to encourage policymakers to enact more restrictive gun regulations.

      Summary

      Background

      Few studies have investigated the relationship between specific gun regulations and gun ownership with the firearm-related suicide rate among juveniles and adults across U.S. states. Therefore, this study seeks to determine if gun ownership rates and gun restrictions are related to the firearm-related suicide rate in both the pediatric and adult populations.

      Methods

      Fourteen measures of state gun law restrictions and gun ownership were collected. These included Giffords Center ranking, gun ownership percentages, and 12 specific firearm laws. Unadjusted linear regressions modeled the relationship between each individual variable and the rate of firearm-related suicides for adults and children across states. This was repeated using a multivariable linear regression adjusting for poverty, poor mental health, race, gun ownership, and divorce rates by state. P values of <0.004 were considered significant.

      Results

      In the unadjusted linear regression, 9 of 14 firearm-related measures were statistically associated with fewer firearm-related suicides in adults. Similarly, 9 of 14 measures were found to be associated with fewer firearm-related suicides in the pediatric population. In the multivariable regression, 6 of 14 vs. 5 of 14 measures were statistically associated with fewer firearm-related suicides in the adult and pediatric populations, respectively.

      Conclusions

      Ultimately, this study found that increased state gun restrictions and lower gun ownership rates were associated with fewer firearm related suicides among juveniles and adults in the US. This paper provides objective data to help lawmakers as they create gun control legislation that can potentially decrease the rate of fire-arm related suicide.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), IRB (Institutional Review Board)
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