In Utah, 85 percent of gun deaths are suicide

In Utah, 85 percent of gun deaths are suicide

(Ruth Fremson | The New York Times) A display of handguns at Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop in Spokane, Wash., Nov. 4, 2019. A year after the coronavirus pandemic began, the toll of self-inflicted gun deaths has led to an unusual alliance between suicide-prevention advocates and gun-rights proponents; together they are devising new strategies to prevent suicide in a population committed to the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Spokane, Wash. • Shanna Torp has never been uneasy around guns. Her father, a retired trucker, kept a gun in the cab when he was on the road. When Torp, a debt collector from Post Falls, Idaho, goes camping, she takes a rifle to ward off cougars and bears. But after her mother died following heart surgery, her 80-year-old father became despondent, Torp told suicide-prevention workers at a gun show in Spokane last autumn. There had been several suicides in Post Falls, she said. She added pointedly: “And he’s got quite a few guns.” Torp has reason to worry. Gun violence kills about 40,000 Americans each year, but while public attention has focused on mass shootings, murders and accidental gun deaths, these account for little more than one-third of the nation’s firearms fatalities. The majority of gun deaths are suicides — and just over half of suicides involve guns. According to national health statistics, 24,432 Americans used guns to kill themselves in 2018, up from 19,392 in 2010. People who kill themselves in this way are […]

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