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Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research

Guns & Suicide

More than sixty percent of all gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides, and half of all suicides in the U.S. are a result of firearms.

Any comprehensive strategy to reduce gun deaths in this country must include addressing suicide. The Center’s research on suicide prevention and suicide prevention policies includes:  extreme risk protection orders (also called red flag laws, gun violence restraining orders, or GVRO), child access prevention (CAP) laws, permit-to-purchase laws (PTP), and waiting periods for gun purchases.

Key Statistic

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) or Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) enable law enforcement, and sometimes family members and others, to petition a judge to remove guns from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. A 2016 study found that for every 10 to 20 guns seized under Connecticut’s GVRO law, one suicide was prevented. [1]

“Gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) are a promising strategy for reducing suicide in the United States, and should be considered by states seeking to address gun violence.”

– Shannon Frattaroli, Center Faculty

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[1] Swanson et al. Implementation and Effectiveness of Connecticut’s Risk-Based Gun Removal Law: Does it Prevent Suicides? Law and Contemporary Problems 2017, 179-208.