Metzl documented the history of
In the last 20 years, however,
The result of these pro-gun policies, enacted mostly by Republican politicians in
What is happening in
Suicide by gun in
Metzl looked at how people committed suicide over the years and found an association with the most available method at the time. For example, in the days of coal-fired gas ovens, people killed themselves by sitting next to their open ovens. With the introduction of non-poisonous natural gas in American kitchens, the rate of suicide decreased significantly. With the proliferation of handguns in people's homes, suicide rates soared.
This link between guns in homes and suicide rates was confirmed in a 1992 government-funded study published in the
As a result of the 1996 ban, death by guns has become "the least researched major cause of death in
The goal of suicide researchers is to "anticipate which persons are most likely to harm themselves in order to then prevent their self-destructive actions." Prediction is the goal of prevention. But the easy access to a gun has changed this calculation. For most people who try to kill themselves -- about 94 percent -- it is an impulsive act, according to Scott Anderson, the author of the book, "The Urge to End It All." With easy access to a gun in the home, this impulse becomes effectively deadly. Eighty-five percent of gun suicide attempts are successful.
Unfortunately, none of this research is likely to change the behavior of gun owners. Metzl attended a
For many families, guns are a way of life and a path to tragedy.
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