Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Background Checks And Suicide: One Seems to Inhibit the Other

New research suggests that background checks can act to reduce suicide by firearms. Many of the elements evaluated in background checks - like history of domestic abuse and significant mental illness - are also risk factors for suicide.

The current study looked at suicide by firearm rates in Connecticut, where a stricter background check is required, and Missouri, where background checks have been eliminated.  The rate of suicide in Connecticut dropped by double digits while in Missouri they increased.

“Contrary to popular belief, suicidal thoughts are often transient, which is why delaying access to a firearm during a period of crisis could prevent suicide,” said study author Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, in a press release announcing the study’s findings on Tuesday. “Just as research indicates that handgun purchaser licensing laws are effective in reducing firearm homicides, they could reduce suicides by firearms as well.”

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