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The Epidemiology of Firearm Suicide in the United States

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Publication Date: March 2002

Publisher(s): Journal of Urban Health

Author(s): Michael P. Romero, MPH; Garen J. Wintemute


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation


Keywords: Firearms; Guns; Suicide

Type: Report


The authors describe the epidemiology of firearm suicide in the United States from 1980 to 1998, using data from the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Files. They found that rates of firearm suicide have changed little during this period and have consistently exceeded firearm homicide rates.

The firearm suicide rate among men is six times as high as that of women. Two out of three firearm suicides are among people younger than 55 years. Whites are about twice as likely to die by firearm suicide as other ethnicity groups. On the individual, empirical study level, firearm household ownership has been associated with an increased risk for suicide.