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Firearms-Suicides Stats Are the Only Relevant Stats in the Gun Violence Debate

Firearms-Suicides Stats Are the Only Relevant Stats in the Gun Violence Debate

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Published by VJLaxmanan
While mass murder rampages capture our attention, firearms-related suicides are overlooked. In 38 out of 44 states for which data is available the Suicides/Homicides (S/H) ratio is greater than one. And in the 6 of 44 states, the S/H ratio varies between 0.72 to 096. In other words, suicides rather than homicides (and the sensational extreme events like mass killings) needs our URGENT attention. The need for a National Gun Safety Act, just like the National Traffic Safety Act of 1966, is emphasized in this context with reduction of firearms-suicides being the driving force for the change.
While mass murder rampages capture our attention, firearms-related suicides are overlooked. In 38 out of 44 states for which data is available the Suicides/Homicides (S/H) ratio is greater than one. And in the 6 of 44 states, the S/H ratio varies between 0.72 to 096. In other words, suicides rather than homicides (and the sensational extreme events like mass killings) needs our URGENT attention. The need for a National Gun Safety Act, just like the National Traffic Safety Act of 1966, is emphasized in this context with reduction of firearms-suicides being the driving force for the change.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: VJLaxmanan on May 15, 2013
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05/28/2013

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Firearms-Suicides Stats Are theOnly Relevant Stats in the GunViolence Debate
 A Simple Approach to a Quantitative Assessment of theEffectiveness of Gun Laws in Preventing Suicides
Figure A: The Brady score for the state is plotted on the horizontal axis. Themore effective the state gun laws, the higher the score (maximum 100). The firearms-suicides rate per 100,000, y/x, with population x in 100,000 units, and y the number of firearms-suicides is plotted on the vertical axis. The bluediamonds are the data for the states with the 10 states with the Strongest GunLaws (SGL). The red dots are the data for 10 states with the Weakest Gun Laws(WGL). The effectiveness of gun laws in reducing firearms-suicides is obvious.
0.002.004.006.008.0010.0012.0014.0016.00
01020304050607080
   F   i  r  e  a  r  m  s   S  u   i  c   i   d  e  r  a   t  e ,  y   P  e  r   1   0   0   0   0   0
Brady Campaign Score for the State, x
 
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Table of Contents
§ No. Topic Page No.1.
Summary 2
2.
Introduction 3
3.
The National Gun Safety Act 
a la
National Traffic Safety Act 4
4.
Analysis of firearms-suicides data for SGL and WGL states 6
5.
Conclusions 16
6.
Appendix 1: Linear vs. Nonlinear laws 17
7.
Reference List 23
§1. Summary
The analysis of the firearms-suicides data in the recent study America UnderGun (by Arkadi Gerney, Chelsea Parsons, and Charles Posner, of Center forAmerican Progress) is continued in this fifth in a series of article.A linear and nonlinear analysis of the data is presented here to illustrate thewide applicability of the simpler linear law for most situations. While massmurders, like the Newtown elementary school killings, capture our attention,firearms-related suicides have been overlooked. The firearms-suicides dataanalysis presented here again highlights the need for a National Gun SafetyAct, just like the National Traffic Safety Act of 1966, with the reduction of firearms-suicides being the driving force for the change. Seat belts and airbagsand seat belt laws, which we now take for granted, were all resisted at onetime. The National Gun Safety Act will likewise catalyze many beneficialchanges that we consider unthinkable today.
 
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§2. Introduction
In several recent articles, see Refs. [1-5], I have analyzed the gun violence datareported in
 America Under the Gun
by Arkadi Gerney, Chelsea Parsons, andCharles Posner (hereafter the GPP study), Refs. [6,7]. The effectiveness of various state gun laws in reducing key gun violence indicators, such as theoverall firearms-related deaths and firearms-related homicides, was alsoanalyzed using the Brady Campaign scores for 2011, see Ref. [8].The main purpose here is to continue this analysis and address the URGENTbut ENTIRELY OVERLOOKED matter of firearms-suicides, see Refs. [9,10], andmake a quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of various state gun laws.A comprehensive state gun laws ranking has also been developed by the LawCenter to Prevent Gun Violence, see Ref. [11] and was preferred by GPP intheir study to compare the aggregate score of each state across the ten gunviolence indicators. However, the ranks for the 50 states, similar to the Bradyscorecard, are not readily available in a tabular form (at least I have not beento find it 
). Nonetheless, as in Ref. [3], we will use the Law Center’s grading of 
10 Strongest Gun Law (SGL) states and 10 Weakest Gun Law (WGL) states.Mass murders, such as the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school killings,grab our attention (click here). Lawmakers, and especially the President, vowto never let it happen again. The pro-gun lobbyists and the NRA lie low andthen reemerge and the loudest voices drown any attempts at a reasonablecompromise. The gun control, or rather gun violence, debate is usuallyfocused on such extreme events. Overlooked in this national hysteria about quick fix and feel good measures is the most tragic part of the entire gunviolence problem
the shockingly high levels of firearms-related suicidesacross all the states
that I have slowly become aware of since I got interestedin the analysis of the gun violence data. As shown in Ref. [1], in 38 of the 44states for which suicides and homicides data is available, it can be shown theSuicides/Homicides ratio, hereafter S/H ratio, is greater than one (S/H > 1).
 
The Suicides/Homicides (S/H) ratio varies from 1.10 for Massachusetts(MA) to as high as 15.17 for Idaho (ID). Only six states, Delaware (DL),Louisiana (LA), New York (NY), Illinois (IL), Maryland (MD), and New

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