By far, gun-related suicides are the number one cause of gun-related deaths in America. It might be surprising considering that gun murders get so much coverage in the news, but in fact homicides are a distant second to suicides in gun statistics. According to new statistics by the Centers for Disease Control, the gap between gun suicides and gun murders may be growing even larger.
But there’s a silver lining to this gloomy news. James Mercy of the CDC’s division of violence prevention stated, “The good news is that we saw that firearm homicides had declined over the two-year period we examined.”
New York’s homicide rates were high at 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2006-2007. That number fell to 2.8 in 2009-2010.
The numbers surrounding suicides aren’t nearly as optimistic. Mercy explained, “Firearm suicides increased in the majority of (metropolitan) areas during this time period. The study reveals that there were 38,122 suicides involving firearms in 2009-2010, a sizable increase from the 34,232 suicides in 2006-2007.
The economy may be to blame. “There are any number of factors that contribute to suicide,” Mercy said. “But one factor that may be associated is the business cycle. Suicide rates have increased since 2006, and that’s associated with the recession and unemployment in the United States.”
The NRA attempted to block the CDC from performing research on gun violence, but the gun group may want to double think their position. Rather than suggesting gun control as a solution, Mercy stated, “We have done a lot in understanding what works with youth violence. [One is] improving social and emotional skills through school-based programs that help kids act in pro-social ways and also resolving conflicts.”
That’s a solution that many people can get behind. Gun control sparks heated controversy, but what harm can come from teaching children how to resolve conflicts peacefully and logically?
Do you agree with the CDC’s assessment of the problem and the solution surrounding gun violence? Do you think that this even-handed study demonstrates the importance of well-funded gun research?