David Brooks’ [Jan. 8, 2016, NewsHour] comments on the potential impact of gun violence legislation were misleading and dismissive about suicide gun deaths. His comment that "the only difference that gun legislation might make was related to suicides" was dismissive and misleading. Reducing suicides is a significant undertaking, and guns are the method of 50 percent of the 40,000 suicides in the United States each year.
Sixty-five percent of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. If gun legislation could reduce the number of these tragic deaths, it would be highly significant! In Washington state, 80 percent of gun deaths are suicides. Jay Inslee, Washington State Governor released an Executive Order on Jan. 6, 2016 to reduce gun deaths and included reducing suicide deaths as a significant focus of the proposed efforts.
Please share this information with David Brooks and more accurately inform your audience about the significance of guns in suicide deaths.
Peggy West PhD MSW
Suicide Prevention Advocate and Consultant
Editor’s note: Insight Blog shares this email with Peggy’s permission, both to correct public misunderstanding about firearms and suicide, and to show how we all have a role in can helping change the media conversation.