September 1, 2021

Adam Peck, West End Strategy Team, 202-531-6408

Recognizing Suicide Prevention Month Means Recognizing the Role of Deadly Firearms in Suicide Deaths

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence calls on lawmakers to implement and fund policies that will reduce firearm suicide, the leading cause of gun death 

If you are having thoughts of suicide, you don’t have to go through this alone – please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting 741-741.

WASHINGTON — As the nation marks the beginning of Suicide Prevention Month, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence calls on leaders and lawmakers to prioritize efforts to prevent deaths by suicide and reduce access to firearms, which dramatically increase the chances of death by suicide. Guns remain the deadliest means of suicide, and their unchecked spread poses a grave threat to millions of American families, especially as the country has seen a dramatic proliferation of firearms over the past 18 months. The impact of guns on suicide rates is even more pronounced among veterans, military service members and their families.

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month and the role that guns have in fueling this epidemic, Janel Cubbage, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Equity at the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, released the following statement:

“For nearly 18 months, the pandemic has introduced or exacerbated many of the risk factors associated with suicide: isolation, unemployment, feelings of hopelessness and the trauma of losing loved ones to the virus. In that same time period, the number of deadly firearms sold in the United States soared to all-time highs.

“Congress and the Biden administration have indicated that they are taking gun violence prevention seriously, but they must demonstrate a commitment to enact proven policies that will reduce firearm suicides. Just yesterday during his speech about Afghanistan, President Biden spoke to the devastating fact that eighteen veterans die by suicide every day. Firearms account for roughly half of all suicide deaths, and are by far the most lethal means of suicide. Rates of gun suicide are even higher for our veterans. Reducing access to lethal means and promoting safer storage and handling practices will save countless lives. The federal government should also continue supporting the expansion and equitable implementation of Extreme Risk laws that are on the books in 19 states and are designed to temporarily remove deadly weapons from those who may pose a risk to themselves or others.

“We must also acknowledge that suicide is not indifferent to the disparities that plague every part of our society. Overall rates of suicide have fallen since 2018, but those declines are exclusively among white Americans. Black and Brown communities — already at greater risk of food insecurity, financial instability and systemic discrimination — saw no significant change in the rate of suicide even as the overall numbers fell.”

More information about the connection between firearms and suicide is available online as part of the research library developed by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. The library also includes analysis of U.S. firearm homicides and community gun violence, as well as prevention policies such as extreme risk protection orders, universal background checks and more.


About the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV) develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms. EFSGV uses a public health and equity lens to identify and implement evidence-based policy solutions and programs to reduce gun violence in all its forms and to make gun violence rare and abnormal. EFSGV is the gun violence prevention movement’s premier research intermediary and founder of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a group of academics and practitioners who collaborate to develop innovative recommendations for policymakers.