May 24, 2013

Suicides account for most gun deaths


Number of Americans who killed themselves with a gun in 2010.

Suicides by gun accounted for about six of every 10 firearm deaths in 2010 and just over half of all suicides, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since the CDC began publishing data in 1981, gun suicides have outnumbered gun homicides. But as gun homicides have declined sharply in recent years, suicides have become a greater share of all firearm deaths: the 61% share in 2010 was the highest on record. That year there were 19,392 suicides by firearm compared to 11,078 homicides by gun (35% of all firearm deaths). The rest were accidents, police shootings and unknown causes.

SDT-2013-05-gun-crime-2-1In terms of both raw numbers and population rates, gun suicides have been on the rise in recent years, even as gun homicides have fallen. In 2010, the gun suicide rate was 6.3 per 100,000 people, compared with 3.6 per 100,000 for gun homicides.

At 87%, males are the vast majority of gun suicides. By age group, people 65 and older have the highest firearm suicide rate: 10.6 per 100,000 people. Read more

Category: Daily Number

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a Senior Writer at the Pew Research Center.

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  1. masoume.rezaei2 weeks ago

    iam student irain university kharazmi
    and attched investion about suicide .please helpe me recommend new variable therefore research..
    excuse me weak langue

  2. Gringo3 months ago

    Hmmmm—-why is it that the age group parameters used for compiling statistics regarding homicides for ‘children— includes people to age 25???–methinks they hardly be children at this age–and if the record keepers wanna be honest–how about a category for ‘gang bangers’!!!

  3. Allen Morgan3 months ago

    Because of the huge amount of injuries and deaths related to vehicles, and vehicles are not a right protected by the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, no one should be able to drive or own vehicles. That argument is just as stupid as the arguments against the Second Amendment rights of owning and bearing guns.

  4. charles4 months ago

    I think this is an important statistic. There are around 30,000 gun related deaths of year, which is frankly ridiculous. Looking at that fact alone guns should be banned. However when it’s considered that almost 20,000 of those deaths are actually suicides guns seem much less dangerous.

    Personally I believe there is no rational for owning guns. A person is more likely to kill a family member than an intruder, the USA gun market is the major supplier of guns to Mexican cartels (increase the USA drug problem), citizen gun ownership will no longer stop a military take over (a riffle is not going to stop a drone attack).

    If citizens did not have access to guns people would be safer. People argue that guns don’t kill people, people kill people but ultimately people would have a much harder time killing people if there were no guns. Also the argument that people would still get guns is invalid (since all countries around the USA have strict gun regulations).

    Essentially there is no RATIONAL reason to own a gun except for sport. Also there is no need to have a gun with a large magazine (which leads to killing a lot of people very quickly) period.

    The second amendment is out of date and needs to be removed. Guns are bringing nothing to the table when people look at the good vs harm.

    1. Thomas Pain4 months ago

      “If citizens did not have access to guns people would be safer.”

      If every citizen had the physique of a 25 year old professional rugby player, I might consider the validity of your comment.

      However, you are overlooking the physical shortcomings of the average woman, the elderly and the otherwise infirm.

    2. KWells2 months ago

      Alright Charles, let’s be “rational.”

      If you’re going to be rational, then there is no reason to limit large magazine sizes. The average amount of rounds fired in gun crime involving semiautomatic pistols (i.e. not revolvers) is 3.2 to 3.7.

      Handguns are by far the most used weapons in gun crime.

      So, tell me: How exactly do you plan on reducing gun crime and gun death by banning “large capacity” magazines?

      (Large Capacity in quotes because there is no justification for the number of rounds which make capacity “large”, just an arbitrary number passed off as common sense.)

    3. John Javelle1 week ago

      There were over 33,000.00 traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. in 2013, should we also get rid of cars since they seem to be so dangerous? There are between 270,000,0001 to 310,000,000 firearms in the United States and over 250,000,000.00 cars in the U.S. Those numbers are comparable just as are the numbers of deaths attributed to each showing one does not represent a significantly superior risk to society. Most of that debate is not based on facts or reality, but on politics, beliefs and perception. It’s therefore pointless in my opinion to try to base gun control policies on statistics. I’m a police officer in Washington D.C. where the guns laws are tight but the courts very lenients with criminals who violate gun lawsm or any other laws for that matter. I live in Virginia where gun ownership laws are very liberal but where penalties for gun law violations are stiff. Last year there were 8 homicides in a county of 1.2 million people versus 103 homicides for a jurisdiction half that size. What do those number mean? To me it means that gun ownership has little to do with loss of life and crime in general. Gun ownership is a red herring, something that can be affected at the stroke of a pen by politicians, much easier than addressing the true roots of crime.

  5. resetplz6 months ago

    What the commenters here have evidently failed to understand is that guns make already violent, angry, or depressed individuals MORE deadly, to themselves and to others.

    In a violent culture, guns allow those people to do

    +MORE harm to
    +MORE people in
    +LESS time.

    If you don’t understand that, you’re not being intellectually honest.

    1. Bob6 months ago

      According to CDC statistics, 88,000 people a year die from alcohol related causes. How many people who are against guns because they kill support distillers and brewers, industries that causes far more carnage?

      1. Anthony5 months ago

        False comparison, people choose to drink themselves, people do not choose to have gun violence done to them (other than those suicide gun deaths mentioned above).

        1. Alex5 months ago

          But people don’t choose to be hit by drunk drivers.

          1. Dave4 months ago

            Yes but there aren’t 88,000 deaths by drunk drivers every year either. So there’s that.

        2. KWells2 months ago

          Too bad suicides make up 2/3 of gun deaths then.

  6. Jim7 months ago

    If my doctor ever tells me that I have a one way cancer diagnosis I am not going to let any “I gotta feel good about myself no matter what” white liberal keep me from minimizing my pain via the cold steel option.

    Incidentally my insurance folks tell me that most of the suicides fit the above profile and that they probably account for three quarters or more of all gun deaths instead of the much cited 50% figure. Most policyholders realize that a life insurance policy doesn’t pay off on a suicide so in order to insure the family gets their survivor money the departee often resorts to incredible scenarios in order to defeat the inevitable insurance investigator’s efforts.

  7. hauk8 months ago

    Mass murders by firearm increased after the fed government passed the “least restrictive environment” law for the insane. According to statistics, 1 percent of the population is violently insane (homicidal?), yet we have less than .5 (half) total still in the asylums. Take into account that approximately 10% of the prison population would fall into that category of violently insane and that leaves well over a million nut cases running around loose. When you figure that many of them have not received any help, is it any surprise that mass murders occur? As for guns eliminating that, Jeff Daumer didn’t use a gun, neither did that construction company owner in Texas, who had 30+ bodies under his house, and those are just two that are known. Think all those missing teenagers are living happily up in the woods on some hippy commune? In addition, there is no obligation of law enforcement to protect any one individual, so sayeth the Supreme Court.

  8. hauk8 months ago

    Yep, and yet government tries to blame the deaths on guns. If there were no guns, slashed wrists, poison, hangings, etc, suicide by cop, kissing a moving semi truck, etc. would be used instead. Yet, government lists all firearm deaths as if they were deliberate and against other individuals, instead of self.

  9. Richard Kaczmarczyk11 months ago

    To the deluded gun mind, suicide, does not count as violence in society. If you do it to yourself, it is OK, self murder is an oxymoron.

    1. HerpDerp10 months ago

      “To the deluded gun mind” What the hell is this? Is that a book title?

      “suicide, does not count as violence in society” Well, violence is “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.” If you notice that word, it’s intended for humans hurting other humans.

      This article is correct, self mutilation and self harm is suicide, but not all suicides are violent, drugs, poison, hanging, etc.

      We have a violent culture because of our philosophical values and materialism, you fail to make any convincing argument, whatsoever.

    2. JW10 months ago

      “Richard Kaczmarczyk • 1 week ago

      To the deluded gun mind, suicide, does not count as violence in society. If you do it to yourself, it is OK, self murder is an oxymoron.”

      You cry about guns because you’re afraid of being shot, be honest here.People who commit Suicide only harm themselves. But you want a big number to suit your agenda.

      1. DC10 months ago

        If you think that people who commit suicide only harm themselves, you must have no experience with suicide. Moreover, a caring society is concerned about people who are so troubled that they want to end their own life. Should we just ignore the problem of suicide in the military because no one is harmed by it? Do you think it does not damage our military and military families?

  10. Robert Stocker11 months ago

    Good morning.

    Perhaps the following new/current Millennium firearms safety/accident statistics research projects may be of interest to you:…

    Kind regards,

    Bob Stocker B.Eng.(Hons) QPSM NM
    Queensland, Australia