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  • Nick Luhring

Mental Health and Guns

When we talk about gun violence, something always gets left out. We fear mass shootings and terrorist attacks, but more often than not, a violent act committed with a gun is committed against oneself rather than others. According to the CDC ( there are 6.7 suicides by guns per 100,000 people, compared to only 3.5 homicides. The overall rate of suicides and homicides (with or without a firearm) is 13 and 5.1 respectively per 100,000 people.

Given that there are twice as many suicides as homicides, why do we focus so much on mass shootings? They certainly affect us emotionally. They drive into us fear that it could happen to us, but when you look around you, you are more likely to have a friend or family kill themselves then die by the hand of another.

This is why we argue for a public and mental health perspective on gun violence. Identifying key triggers to suicide can help to save lives. Allocating resources to high risk areas and demographics (males age 18-34 are especially at risk) can go a long way to reduce gun violence that is expressed against oneself. This is an important step, and one of many, involved in properly addressing gun violence.


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