Limiting Firearm Access Of Mentally Ill Does Not Reduce Suicide Deaths

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks ago

Reader Michael Schlechter, MD, sends this along.

Boggs and colleagues conducted the Treatment Utilization Before Suicide (TUBS) study to determine if limiting firearm access for individuals with a mental health condition or a history of suicidal attempts prevented suicide deaths. They identified 2,674 adults and adolescents from eight integrated health systems who were continuously enrolled in the system for at least 10 months prior to suicide. The researchers separated participants into two groups based on medical records and claims information. The first group consisted of those who were diagnosed with any mental health or substance use condition in the year before death. The second group consisted of those who had made previous suicide attempts. The researchers noted that the groups were not mutually exclusive and that there was considerable overlap between individuals who had a mental health condition and whose who previously attempted suicide.

Researchers found that the majority of patients with a history of suicide attempts or mental health or substance abuse committed suicide through means other than firearms, while the majority of people who did commit suicide with a firearm did not have a previous diagnosis of mental health issues or suicide attempts. More than half of individuals who died by suicide (54.7%) had a mental health or substance use condition and among those, 42.8% used a firearm. Previous suicide attempts were documented in 10.9% of individuals who died by suicide and only 37.5% of those used a firearm. Approximately 4.1% of individuals who died by suicide with a firearm had previously attempted suicide, while 23.5% were diagnosed with a mental health or substance use condition.

“Our findings show that, even if successful, current efforts to limit firearm access only for persons with a mental health condition (including substance use disorders) or those who previously attempted suicide would prevent few suicide deaths by firearm,” Boggs and colleagues concluded. “We suggest that prevention of firearm suicide should be expanded beyond the current focus on these patients to include other persons at risk for suicide… Our findings also highlight the importance of expanding attention beyond an exclusive focus on firearms — especially for persons with mental health or substance use conditions — to include other common means of suicide, such as instruments used for suffocation (for example, rope for hanging) and poison (for example, medications, alcohol, and recreational drugs).”

I have not read the study, and would be happy to evaluate the statistical calculations if I had the chance.  But assuming the fidelity and accuracy of the analysis, this seems to me to be important work.

You always hear three things from the gun controllers as justifications for more control.  First, high gun violence rates, which as I’ve pointed out predominately occur in the inner cities as black on black violence, pointing to a moral and cultural problem rather than guns.  Second, mentally ill people and their propensity to violence.  But as we’ve conclusively shown (or at least we’ve conclusively shown what the mental health professionals think), mental illness has no correlation to propensity to violence.

Finally, there is the study above.  Take note that of the three, two reasons for more gun control concern the mentally ill.  Frankly, I’ve never seen such maligned class of people by such a prejudiced bunch of bigots.

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Comments

  1. On July 11, 2017 at 8:14 am, Fred said:

    Are they suggesting banning plastic bags and rope and drugs? Is that the inference? Oh wait, drugs are already illegal to abuse, hmm.

  2. On July 12, 2017 at 10:03 am, Dirk Williams said:

    This just passed both houses here in Oregon.we have a super majority of democrats here, sad indeed. The irony is the state is mostly Conservitive right. The I-5 freeway corridor from roughly Eugene Oregon to Portland Or, is the left, unfortunately their the majority in people numbers.

    The conservatives occupy virtually all the rest of the state. Sadly this passed with bipartisan support. I’ve already emailed my reps voicing my displeasure, of any support of this witch hunt of a bill.

    Interesting times.

    Tic Toc.

    Dirk

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published July 9th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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