Suicide rates, handgun control laws, and sociodemographic variables

Psychol Rep. 1990 Jun;66(3 Pt 1):923-30. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1990.66.3.923.


The association of state handgun control laws to state suicide rates was investigated while controlling for sex, age, percent black, percent metropolitan population, population density, and rates of population change, divorce, crime, and unemployment. Gun control laws formed two statistically identifiable groups, (1) laws that place restrictions on the sellers of handguns and (2) laws that place restrictions on the buyers of handguns. A multiple regression analysis indicated that suicide rates were significantly lower in states with low divorce rates, low crime rates, and stringent firearm control laws, as those laws affect both the sellers and the buyers of handguns. The variables in this analysis accounted for 69% of the variance of suicide rates.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Firearms / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology