Guns Are Driving Rising Suicide Rates in American Cities

Sep. 19, 2022

Guns Are Driving Rising Suicide Rates in American Cities


September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it brings unwelcome news regarding the relationship between guns and suicide. The first-ever city-level analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on firearm deaths found that the rate of gun suicides increased 11 percent between 2014 and 2020.

Firearm homicide rates also increased over the period, by 18 percent. Mass shootings in 2022 have understandably provoked outrage, but more than half of all gun deaths in the U.S. are the result of suicide.

Suicide itself is a greater factor in premature death that may be commonly understood. According to the CDC, in 2020 it was the second leading cause of death (after unintentional injury) for Americans ages 10-14 and 25-34. Among those 15-24 it was third (just behind homicide) and for those 35-44 it was fourth.

Guns add a lethal dimension to this public health problem; a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine that looked at millions of records from hospitals and emergency departments found that while less than 9 percent of all suicide attempts were fatal, nearly 90 percent that involved firearms resulted in death.

Read More

Explore More