Safer storage: For at home firearm storage, it is widely recommended to store firearms locked and unloaded, store and lock ammunition separately from firearms, and ensure the key or lock combination is inaccessible to children and any person at elevated risk.
Suicide is a growing public health crisis and firearms are among the most lethal and most commonly used suicide methods in the United States. A multilevel approach for suicide prevention that addresses access to firearms can save lives.
Our firearm suicide prevention model applies the social ecological model and focuses on four levels of intervention (societal, community, relationship, and individual) to reduce access to firearms by individuals when they are at an elevated risk for self-harm.
Suicide by Firearm
Suicide by Firearm
More than 22,000 Americans die by firearm suicide every year – 61 every single day. Due to the high lethality and easy accessibility of firearms, firearms are used in half of all US suicides. In order to effectively reduce suicide in America, we must address access to lethal means.
Firearm suicide prevention interventions that reduce access to firearms at different levels of the social ecological model (SEM) framework include: extreme risk laws, voluntary self-prohibition policies, policies that reduce the availability of firearms, gun shop projects, lethal means safety counseling, and safer storage practices.
Gun shop projects: Gun Shop Projects build on partnerships between firearms retailers, ranges, and clubs and public health experts. Gun Shop Projects provide retailers, instructors, and customers of all experience levels with firearm suicide prevention educational materials.
Lethal means safety counseling: Lethal means safety counseling is the process that healthcare providers undertake to determine if an individual at risk for suicide has access to lethal means of suicide attempt. The provider then works with the individual and their family or friends to reduce access until the risk of suicide decreases.
Extreme risk laws: Extreme risk laws are evidence-based, bipartisan state policies that temporarily prohibit the purchase and possession of a firearm by persons demonstrating behavioral risk factors for harming themselves or others.
Voluntary self prohibition: Voluntary self-prohibition policies allow individuals to place themselves on a do-not buy list that would place their name into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, prohibiting them from passing a background check to purchase firearms.
State by State
Firearm suicide rates vary substantially between states. In 2017, the firearm suicide rate ranged from a high of 19.35 firearm suicides per 100,000 people in Montana, to a low of 1.85 firearm suicides per 100,000 people in Hawaii.
Click on a state below to learn more about state-specific firearm suicide.
Age-Adjusted Firearm Suicide Rate per 100,000
- 0.00 to 4.80
- 4.90 to 9.70
- 9.80 to 14.60
- 14.70 to 19.35
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
District of Columbia
This page was last updated on August 1, 2019.