There’s Scientific Consensus on Guns — and the NRA Won’t Like It
So, for example, one survey asked whether having a gun in the home increased the risk of suicide. An overwhelming share of the 150 people who responded, 84%, said yes.
This result was not at all surprising because the scientific evidence is overwhelming. It includes a dozen individual-level studies that investigate why some people commit suicide and others do not, and an almost equal number of area-wide studies that try to explain differences in suicide rates across cities, states and regions. These area-wide studies find that differences in rates of suicide across the country are less explained by differences in mental health or suicide ideation than they are by differences in levels of household gun ownership.
A 2014 meta-analysis, conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco, of the scientific studies on guns and suicide concluded that access to firearms increases the risk of suicide. Similarly, the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that “firearm access is a risk factor for suicide in the United States.”
As I said, I wasn’t surprised by the results of that questionnaire. Still, it was nice to be able to document that the large majority of gun researchers have arrived at the same conclusion about firearms and suicide from their reading of the scientific literature.