Firearm seizure laws tied to reduced suicides

  • Kivisto AJ & al.
  • Psychiatr Serv
  • 1 Jun 2018

  • curated by Jim Kling
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • A quasi-experimental study of outcomes after passage of firearm seizure laws in Indiana and Connecticut shows a reduction in firearm suicides.
  • Suicides decreased overall in Indiana, but decreased firearm suicides in Connecticut were offset by increases in other types of suicides.
  • These laws allow firearm seizure under strict circumstances when police determine that a person is a risk to themselves or others.

Why this matters

  • 4 other states have passed similar measures.
  • 19 states have proposed similar measures. 
  • Federal policies are being considered.

Study design

  • This quasi-experimental study evaluated the effects of firearm seizure legislation on suicide rates in Indiana and Connecticut.
  • Data obtained from 50 states between 1981 and 2015.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • From 1981 to 2015:
    • 15,130 firearm suicides in Indiana; 
    • 4020 in Connecticut.
  • After the firearm seizure law:
    • 7.5% reduction in firearm suicides in Indiana;
    • 1.6% reduction in Connecticut.
  • After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, increased law enforcement (Connecticut) led to a greater reduction in suicide rates, from 1.6% to 13.7%.
  • After the firearm seizure law, nonfirearm suicides were 5.7% higher in Connecticut than in a control population.

Limitations

  • State-level analysis.

Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm

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