Fact Sheet

Know the Facts About Suicide and Guns

In North Carolina teens often make the impulsive decision to end their lives.  When provided easy access to a firearm it is almost always a permanent and deadly decision.

  • In North Carolina more than 50% of all firearm deaths are suicides (2007 Data WISQARS**)

  • In North Carolina suicide is the 2nd leading cause of violent death for adolescents (2007 Data WISQARS)

  • 49 % of youth suicides in North Carolina involve a firearm—the largest chosen method (2007 Data WISQARS)

  • Many youth suicides are impulsive. A study of youth under 18 who attempted suicide found one-third who attempted suicide made the decision on the same day and in many cases the same hour (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • In a study of firearm suicide survivors, the majority stated ‘availability’ as the reason they chose a gun (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • A National Violent Injury Statistics System(NVISS) Study of firearm suicides among youth under 18 found that 82% used a firearm belonging to a family member, usually a parent. When storage status was noted, about two-thirds of the firearms had been stored unlocked (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • In the above study, among the remaining cases,  in which the firearms had been locked, the youth either knew the combination or where the key was kept, or broke into the cabinet where one or more firearms were stored. (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Firearm suicide is significantly more fatal than other means. More than 90 percent of suicide attempts with a gun are fatal. In comparison, only 3 percent of attempts with drugs or cutting are fatal (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Suicide death isn’t inevitable. A study of individuals who attempted suicide and survived found that nine out of ten did not die by suicide at a later date. (Owens 2002)

Reducing at-risk youth’s access to firearms has been proven to reduce their risk of suicide death and yet. . .


Download this Fact Sheet

Sources: **WISQARSTM (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), Harvard School of Public Health , The Center to Prevent Youth Violence

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  • Kate Neely
    published this page 2011-09-19 18:30:15 -0400