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Gun availability and control in suicide prevention 

Gun availability and control in suicide prevention
Chapter:
Gun availability and control in suicide prevention
Author(s):

Antoon Leenaars

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198570059.003.0077
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date: 23 September 2019

Although countries differ in the most frequent methods of suicide, firearms are a preferred method in some countries. It is a method with high case fatality. Individual (case–control) studies and population studies show that restriction of firearms reduces suicide. This is especially evident in the young. Further, population studies show that gun control, such as strict licensing and restricted availability of firearms, is effective. Individual and population studies also found that one must especially control the availability of firearms to people with mental disorders. Canada’s Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1977 (Bill C-51) illustrates the effect of legislating means restriction when one controls for confounding social and economic factors. The young show the most significant decrease in suicide rates, not substituting guns with other methods of suicide. Studies on firearms and suicide across the globe support the studies from Canada. Yet, there are researchers who espouse the opposite and the debate has been polemic. More research is needed to strengthen the conclusion on the positive effects of gun control laws worldwide.

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