Thursday, October 11, 2012

More suicide information

I'm involved in a conversation on the Brady Campaign Facebook site about gun control and suicide. I made a comment about the declining murder rate and Andrew Goddard pointed out that I didn't include suicides with my 'gun death' numbers. I responded that suicide is independent of method and pointed out that Canada's suicide rate is similar to that of the United States, but the US has three times more firearms. Facebooker (yeah, I made that up) Brent Gurtek was interested in more information regarding the changes in the suicide rate in Canada compared with the changes in Canada's gun laws. If I did all that research, I may as well write a post about it. I'm surprised that my posts have been allowed to stay as long as they have (nearly 24 hours) except for links that I provided for the FBI Uniform Crime reports, those were deleted. Anywho....

From Statistics Canada we get the actual number of persons that committed suicide. Doing the math, with their estimated population, we see that the suicide rate in Canada rising. US suicide rate is from the CDC.

Now, let's compare their rising suicide rates with their gun laws.

From 1995 until April 6, 2012, all firearms were required to be registered. Handguns are limited to 10 rounds, most semi-auto rifles are limited to 5 rounds. Military style firearms are prohibited. Safe storage is required and loaded firearms may not be left unattended. A license is required to purchase or posses firearms, this includes a firearms safety course, background check, and 28 day waiting period. Restricted and prohibited firearms must still be registered.

During the period 2005 to 2009, there have been no gun control laws removed and in fact, a new law took effect in 2008 requiring public agencies to report what firearms were in their possession, including their own service weapons.

According to a World Heath Organization (WHO) report, Methods of suicide: international suicide patterns derived from the WHO mortality database, people are very creative when they feel it's time to take their own life.

National studies on suicide indicate that suicidal behaviour and, in particular, the preferred suicide method, varies between countries. Some patterns are well known, such as the high percentage of firearm suicides in the United States of America. In addition, the role of pesticide suicide in Asian countries became apparent in the 1990s. The emergence of a new method, charcoal-burning suicide, in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), China and urban Taiwan, China, has been a surprise, but serves as a warning that research and prevention efforts should be reinforced.

According to the WHO report, the following are the preferred methods of suicide:

Canada men...............Hanging (44.4%)....Firearms (21.6%)...Poisons (10.6%)
Canada women..........Hanging (36.8%)....Poisons (34.8%).....Falls (6.5%)

United States men.......Firearms (60.6%)...Hanging (20.4%)...Poison (7.4%)
United States women...Firearms (35.7)......Poison (31.5%).....Hanging (16.9%)

Lithuania, who has the highest suicide rate in the world at 31.6 (nearly three times that of the US) has gun control laws similar to Canada, but their preferred method of suicide is Hanging, for men (91.7%), and women (83.1)

Once again, suicide is independent of method.

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