Suicide Accounts for Most Gun Deaths. A Libertarian Approach Could Help.

Suicide Accounts for Most Gun Deaths. A Libertarian Approach Could Help.

The gun debate is often framed as a battle between preserving liberty and saving lives. But there is a third way. Lives can be saved by enhancing liberty—by expanding the menu of firearm-related choices. This third path can bring together both sides of the debate, and bring down the national death toll from firearms, which was nearly 40,000 in 2018, including Nathan. More than 60% of those deaths were suicides, far outpacing the 35% from homicides. Deaths from mass shootings, which tend to command the most attention because of their horrific nature, represent less than 1% of the fatalities. U.S. deaths from firearms in 2018, by type Homicide 35% Suicide 61% 24,432 Americans committed suicide with firearms. Other* 4% *Include unintentional (1%), undetermined (1%), from legal intervention (1%), or from public mass shootings (0.2%). Sources: CDC, Mother Jones via UC Davis Health Since Nathan’s death, two states—Washington and Virginia—have adopted a law named after her that aims to reduce gun suicide by allowing individuals to suspend their own ability to purchase a firearm. Nine other states have introduced such legislation. Signing up for Donna’s Law confidentially adds a person’s name to the FBI background check system so that gun dealers can’t sell you a firearm. Individuals can change their minds, but there is a delay period after requesting removal. The delay is analogous to the waiting period to purchase guns enacted by many states since 1970. Studies show that these measures have reduced gun suicide numbers by 7% to […]

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