The largest number of gun deaths each year are suicides, not homicides. Every year in the United States, tens of thousands of people bring their lives to an end with a gun. In 2020, of the 45,222 total gun deaths that occurred that year, 24,292 were suicides.
The prevalence of suicide in the United States is directly linked to the easy availability of firearms. The completion of any suicide attempt depends primarily on the lethality of the means employed, and guns are the most lethal means available. Approximately 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal.
The Harvard School of Public Health notes that “virtually every other method is less lethal than a firearm so there’s greater chance the person won’t die in their attempt … With a firearm, once the trigger is pulled, there’s no turning back.”
We cannot ignore this ongoing epidemic. It is well past time for effective gun violence prevention policies that could drastically reduce the number of suicides in the United States.
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