Firearm suicide among youth in the United States, 2004-2015

J Behav Med. 2019 Aug;42(4):584-590. doi: 10.1007/s10865-019-00037-0. Epub 2019 Aug 1.


Suicide is a leading cause of death among children in the United States; firearms cause 37% of these deaths. Research is needed to better understand firearm accessibility among youth at risk for suicide. We reviewed data from the National Fatality Review Case Reporting System (NFR-CRS). Firearm suicide deaths of children ages 10-18 occurring 2004 through 2015 with completed suicide-specific section were included. Children who had talked about, threatened or attempted suicide were identified as "Greater Risk" (GR). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated. Of the 2106 firearm suicide deaths, 1388 (66%) had a completed NFR-CRS suicide section. Of these, 36% (494/1388) met the criteria for GR. Firearms were less likely to be stored in a locked location for GR children [adjusted OR 0.62, (95%CI 0.49-0.98)]. Strategies to limit firearm access, particularly for GR youth, should be a focus of suicide prevention efforts.

Keywords: Child death review; Firearms; Gun violence; Pediatrics; Prevention; Suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality*