State laws that restrict access to guns could reduce the rate of firearm-related suicide, according to new research.
Researchers examined suicide rates in Connecticut and Missouri, two
states that changed their permit-to-purchase handgun laws in recent
decades. Connecticut passed a law in 1995 that requires people to apply
for a permit with local law enforcement and take eight hours of gun
safety training before they can buy a firearm. In 2007 in Missouri, the
state repealed a 1921 law that required people to apply with the local
police to buy a gun.
The rate of gun-related suicide in
Connecticut in the 10 years after its law passed was 15 percent lower
than what researchers predict it would have been had the law not been
passed. The researchers made this prediction based on the suicide rate
between 1995 and 2005 in Rhode Island and North Dakota, which have
similar demographics as Connecticut and which also had similar suicide
rates as Connecticut in the years before its law (1981-1994).
contrast, the gun-related suicide rate in Missouri was 16 percent higher
from 2007 to 2011 than researchers predict it would have been based on
the rates in the comparable states of North Carolina and Nebraska.