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.
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. 
“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
Select JOURNAL ARTICLES
- Assessment of Selective and Universal Screening for Suicide Risk in a Pediatric Emergency Department. DeVylder J, Ryan T, Cwik M, Wilson ME, Jay S, Nestadt PS, Goldstein M, Wilcox H. JAMA Network Open 2019 Oct 2;2(10):e1914070.
- Prevalence of long gun use in Maryland firearm suicides. Nestadt PS, MacKrell K, McCourt AD, Fowler DR, Crifasi CK. Inj Epidemiol. 2020 Feb 3;7(1):4.
- An Integrated Public Health Approach to Interpersonal Violence and Suicide Prevention and Response. Decker MR, Wilcox HC, Holliday CN, Webster DW. Public Health Rep. 2018 Nov/Dec;133.
- Repeal of Comprehensive Background Check Policies and Firearm Homicide and Suicide. Kagawa RMC, Castillo-Carniglia A, Vernick JS, Webster D, Crifasi C, Rudolph KE, Cerdá M, Shev A, Wintemute GJ. Epidemiology. 2018 Jul;29(4):494-502.
- Urban-Rural Differences in Suicide in the State of Maryland: The Role of Firearms. Nestadt PS, Triplett P, Fowler DR, Mojtabai R. Am J Public Health. 2017 Oct;107(10):1548-1553.
- Differing Perspectives on Analyzing Data Related to Firearms and Suicide. Stuart EA, Crifasi C, McCourt A, Vernick JS, Webster D. Am J Public Health. 2017 Aug;107(8): e26.
- Background Checks for all Gun Buyers and Gun Violence Restraining Orders: State Efforts to Keep Guns from High-Risk Persons. Vernick JS, Alcorn T, Horwitz J. J Law Med Ethics. 2017 Mar;45(1_suppl):98-102.
- Temporary Transfer of Firearms From the Home to Prevent Suicide: Legal Obstacles and Recommendations. McCourt AD, Vernick JS, Betz ME, Brandspigel S, Runyan CW. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Jan 1;177(1):96-101.
- Effects of changes in permit-to-purchase handgun laws in Connecticut and Missouri on suicide rates. Crifasi CK, Meyers JS, Vernick JS, Webster DW. Prev Med. 2015 Oct;79:43-9.
- Gun Violence Restraining Orders: Alternative or Adjunct to Mental Health-Based Restrictions on Firearms? Frattaroli S, McGinty EE, Barnhorst A, Greenberg S. Behav Sci Law. 2015 Jun;33(2-3):290-307.
- Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy. Swanson JW, McGinty EE, Fazel S, Mays VM. Ann Epidemiol. 2015 May;25(5):366-76.
- Guns, Public Health, and Mental Illness: An Evidenced-Based Approach for Federal Policy
- Guns, Public Health, and Mental Illness: An Evidence-Based Approach for State Policy
- Study: News Stories Often Link Violence With Mental Health Illness, Even Though People With Mental Health Illness Are Rarely Violent
Tue, 07 Jun 2016
- Suicide-By-Firearm Rates Shift in Two States After Changes in State Gun Laws
Tue, 01 Sep 2015
- Gun Violence Restraining Orders: Promising Strategy to Reduce Gun Violence in the U.S.
Wed, 20 May 2015
- Johns Hopkins Faculty Contribute to New Report: “Guns, Public Health and Mental Illness: An Evidence Based Approach for State Policy”
Mon, 02 Dec 2013
 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.