Firearm suicide: pathways to risk and methods of prevention

Curr Opin Psychol. 2018 Aug;22:7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.07.002. Epub 2017 Jul 14.


Firearms are utilized in approximately half of all US suicides, making them a serious public health concern and a target of suicide prevention efforts. Practical capability influences the transition from suicidal ideation to action and is particularly relevant to firearm suicide. Firearm ownership, experience using firearms, unsafe firearm storage, and high cultural acceptability of firearms increase risk for death by firearm suicide. Means safety strategies, which emphasize the reduction of practical capability for suicide through the limitation of access to and safe storage of firearms, are effective in preventing suicide and include interventions such as lethal means counseling, firearm legislation, and promoting safe storage practices. Public health interventions aimed at reducing firearm suicide are critical topics for continued research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Firearms* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / etiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control