Two new studies, as reported on by the Los Angeles Times, both find that states in which access to firearms is easier tend to have higher rates of suicide. Means Matter, the suicide prevention effort out of the Harvard School of Public Health, reports that in instances of firearms suicides among youths ages 17 and under, the victim uses a firearm belonging to a family member in 82% of cases. But imagine if a young person, or any person, was denied access to the firearm because it was secured with smart firearms safety technology — in shorthand, “smart guns”. Restricting access to the firearm often decreases the likelihood that a person will follow through with their intended suicide.
Fingerprint-access technology allows gun owners to limit the use of their firearm only to authenticated users — only those with a fingerprint that has been programmed to activate the gun may fire it. If a gun owner has children or young people at home, they may choose to refrain from giving them access simply by denying them fingerprint authentication. Another smart gun solution is radio-frequency identification. RFID guns can only fire when activated by a unique token such as a ring or a watch. If you are the only person who will ever handle your firearm, then you can wear your token at all times to ensure that improper use never occurs. Similarly, mechanical gun locks and smart technology gun safes only allow for authorized users to fire the weapon.
When it comes to suicide prevention, access plays a critical role and limiting access to a firearm in the home, can mean the difference between life and death.
Written by Scott Martelle.
More than half of the nation’s 41,000 suicides each year are committed by people using guns, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that two new, related studies find that states with stricter gun control laws tend to have both lower rates of suicides using guns, and lower overall rates of suicides.
In other words, states where access to firearms is easier have higher rates of suicide.