Sunday, May 13, 2012

Suicide, gun ownership and rates

The anti-rights establishment has set a metric, or a unit of measurement, of violence in the United States. They call it 'gun death' while turning a blind eye to the rest of the violent crime. In this unit of measurement they count suicide by gun and claim "30,000 people are killed every year by guns". A more honest statement would be that 30,000 people are killed every year by being shot, either by themselves or by someone else. The antis claim that having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide 90% - 460%. (Wow, that's a huge spectrum from 90 - 460).

According to Gallup, gun ownership between 1999 and 2009 has remained between 40 and 45%.

According to the CDC, non-firearm related suicides have been increasing from 4.52/100K in 1999 to 5.92/100k in 2009 while at the same time, suicide by firearm has remained fairly constant between 5.95/100k in 1999 and 6.10/100k in 2009. Looking at the chart below, you can see that the number of non-firearm suicides is catching up to the number of firearm related suicides

If there was a correlation between gun ownership and suicides, we'd see a a significant increase in suicides between 2001 and 2003, which we don't and  a drop in suicides between 2003 and 2005, which also didn't happen. Also, there would be a significant increase in suicides from 2005 and 2008, which again, didn't occur.

Let's compare firearm ownership rates v suicide rates for different countries.

Clearly, there is no correlation between firearm ownership and suicide rates. (note: firearm ownership is per 100 whereas suicide rate is per 100K). The United States has approximately 270,000,000 firearms in the hands of the civilian population with a suicide rate of 11.8 which is similar to the suicide rate of Canada, but Canada has about 1/3 of the rate of firearm ownership with only 9,950,000 firearms in civilian hands. Just so you don't have to do the math, the United States has 27 times MORE firearms than Canada with nearly the same suicide rate. Obviously more firearms do not equal more suicides and looking at the chart, it appears that not having access to firearms actually leads to more suicide.

The next time some anti-rights bigot tries to tell you that more guns means more gun death, tell them to pound sand and send 'em this way.

What other comparisons can I make?

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