Beware: Unsettled Times Like These Spark Suicides

As a run-up to the Fourth of July Americans typically buy beer, BBQ meats and fireworks. This year, as so many have become overwhelmed by the anxiety and uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans are buying guns at a record pace.

Make no mistake, more guns equal more suicides.

This is not an attack on citizen’s Second Amendment rights so, please, hold the scolding emails. This is a wakeup call intended for those gun owning households in which someone is struggling with emotional and/or financial burdens. Their deep depression could spark suicidal thoughts. Right now, more than ever before, it is urgent to keep firearms safely locked up.

Wikipedia photo: Clockwise starting at topleft:  Glock G22, Glock G21, Kimber Custom Raptor, Dan Wesson Commander, Smith & Wesson Air Weight .357, Ruger Blackhawk .357, Ruger SP101, Sig Sauer P220 Combat.
Nearly Half of all U.S. Suicides are by Firearms

Latest government figures show that more than 48,000 Americans killed themselves. Some 23,000 became distraught enough that they used the household firearm to end their pain. This year is anything but typical, of course, so experts predict the 2020 suicide toll will be higher. Much higher.

The first reason, according to the non-profit group Everytown For Gun Safety, is that there are now millions more guns in American homes. Gun sales from last March to this March went up by nearly 5.9 million, a shocking year-to-year increase of 80%. And get this, during March, April and May of this year another 1.9 million guns were purchased. This country has never seen such a spike in gun sales – ever.

Another Everytown report, this one analyzing historic death data from the Great Depression of the 30’s and the Great Recession of 2008-10, mapped a tragic rise in the suicide rates as unemployment increased and the economy shrank. This is exactly what is happening today. There is no reason to think that grim suicide trend won’t continue in 2020.

“Based on historic precedent,” the Everytown report concluded, “the US risks a 20 to 30 percent increase in firearm suicides, costing the nation an additional 5,000 to 7,000 lives—about 20 more per day—in 2020 alone.” Translated: some 30,000 Americans with a handy gun in the house are expected to take their own lives this year.

Since the Everytown For Gun Safety figures were put together we’ve also been exposed to the upset of unchecked civil unrest that has unfolded in cities across the country. Our national psyche has been further traumatized by the mealy-mouthed response of elected officials to the looting, arson and tearing down of historic monuments. At a time when the country sorely needs strong leaders to step forward to restore the peace what we get, instead, are never-ending scorched-earth, blame-game political battles – or worse yet, silence from our so-called leaders. For many citizens, their sense of well-being and safety have been shattered amid the growing trend to dismantle or defund police departments. No wonder civilian gun sales have skyrocketed! We have reached a point where many of us now feel unsafe in our own country.

During this time of homebound isolation emotional and physical problems multiply. Millions are struggling with the loss of their jobs and the resulting financial struggles. Domestic violence and child sexual abuse has increased and many have turned to alcohol and drugs to try to cope. This instability spawns the kind of despair and hopelessness that breeds suicidal thoughts.

The National Institute of Mental Health agrees that firearms are the most common method used in suicides. Men – between the ages of 25 to 65 – are at the highest risk. Women in that same age group also use a gun to kill themselves but much less often.

The American Association of Suicidology promotes research and works on suicide prevention through public awareness programs and training for professionals and volunteers. The Association’s CEO, Colleen Creighton, says, “Putting time and space between someone who is experiencing a suicide crisis and their firearm” is the best preventative step possible.

No, this is not an attack on gun ownership or the constitutionally protected right of citizens to keep firearms. This is a call to gun owners to be ever more vigilant, to recognize those who may be suffering. Relatives, neighbors, friends, those for whom all hope seems lost, those who are living in potentially dangerous and emotionally wrought situations for which there looks to be no escape. They could be looking for the final solution.

Don’t let that include your gun.



  1. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Reader Robert Iadicicco writes:

    I fully support the author’s desire to prevent suicides. I lost my only sibling, my younger brother, when he jumped from a major Charleston bridge.

    He suffered from a terrible mental illness, an illness that had obviously took control of his mind. Yet, New York State law prohibited his family from forcing him to receive the treatment he needed to regain his sanity.

    I share this because I think the author should have put her last paragraph first, and her focus on guns should be a smaller aspect of the larger effort to prevent suicides.

    The first point is to encourage all people to be aware of the signs of severe depression, anxiety, and mental illness, and to encourage themselves, their family members, and friends who are suffering with these conditions to seek treatment.

    There is no shame, it is in fact healthy and strong, to seek treatment for a mental condition; which is a condition impacting the brain, a physical part of the body.

    Just like it is common sense to seek treatment for a life threatening medical condition; it is common sense to seek treatment for a life threatening mental health condition.

    Preventing a person who is experiencing suicidal thoughts from having easy access to a gun; as is leaving them alone with the opportunity to kill themselves with drugs; a belt, or by jumping off a high object.

    However, before all that, be aware of and help each other seek treatment for serious mental health conditions.

  2. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:36 am

    Reader arcanehavoc writes:

    I wholeheartedly agree!! I lost my job just prior to the pandemic, and regaining another since than has been highly problematic. I am NOT and have NEVER been suicidal, but I have slogged up some steep, depressing days recently during this national crisis. The general state of our country saddens and frustrates me beyond description. I’m certain that others feel, or have felt, similarly. Combine the current events with one’s individual circumstances and the situation is ripe for a reckless, regrettable, irreversible decision. That’s the point of the article. Let’s just keep our guns out of this formula; gun owners should accept their responsibility to store their firearms safely, especially when the media is rabidly seeking any excuse to launch an attack on our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

  3. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Reader Mariah Lawrence writes:

    Thank you for you warning to protect our families

  4. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Reader Tammy Pendino writes:

    Suicide? How about drug overdose, hangings, falling off buidings and bridges,
    Carbon Monoxide…drownings…etc…
    And if I choose to use a gun to blow my brains out then dammit! That’s my right!!
    Sorry for the mess..but still, its my fuljjking right!!

  5. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Reader Bachman Randall writes:

    Guns are not the only means people utilize for suicide. There is an implicit message here that is not useful: “more guns more suicides, another reason to ban guns.” quoting Everytown sort of exposes your agenda. Tell the seditious leftest revolutionaries, formally known as democrats, to quit fomenting rebellion, covetuousness, and bigotry. They are inhumane, unAmerican, and frankly should be jailed. There you go, suicides will fall dramatically. Oh, and tell your buddies at Everytown to go pound sand. 4MY

  6. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Reader dsisham writes:

    Why don’t you stay out of others peoples lives Diane… what they do or don’t do is none of your business. Your opinions are not needed. Leave the 2nd alone!!!! I will never interfere with anyone who wants to take their own life. None of my business

  7. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Reader arcanehavoc writes:

    The thrust of the article is NOT that someone’s choice to suicide is the responsibility of anyone else. The point (obviously) is that guns are the general choice for suicides, so gun owners should ensure that their guns are stored safely. In other words, a common sense reminder. That’s the problem with “common” sense —– it’s not so common.

    • Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:43 am

      Diane Dimond replies:

      Couldn’t have said it any better, Arcanehavoc. Thank you.~ Diane Dimond

  8. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Reader brian.carter writes:

    Diane Dimond needs to learn the difference between correlation and causation. In “unsettled” times gun sales increase for self-defense. We also see a spike in stress, depression, and isolation all major contributing factors to suicide. To write something as sophomoric as “#guns equal more suicides” is like writing ice cream sales cause shark attacks because both go up in Summer. Suicides will increase during “unsettled” times regardless of gun sales. In fact, the quote of the hyper-political Everytown report leaves out increases in suicide from other causes. You claim your report isn’t an attack on the #gunowners, but your main source is a Bloomberg front group dedicated to confiscating all civilian-owned firearms. Repackaging anti-#RKBA garbage reports as nanny advice just shows you don’t understand stats, you think we need you to manage our lives, & you think your readers are too stupid to see your agenda.

    • Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:52 am

      Diane Dimond replies:

      Mr. Carter, I have no “agenda” as you claim. I have no affiliation with Everytown For Gun Safety, never have, never will. I quote their conclusions merely as a warning for any household in which there is a gun. FACT: A vast majority of the ever-increasing number of suicides in this country are carried out with a household firearm. FACT: suicides are going up in this tumultuous time which is not surprising if you study history. FACT: writing about keeping guns safely out of reach of depressed people does not equal being against the constitutionally protected right of citizens to keep guns. ~ DD

  9. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Reader Daniel LaChance writes:

    Yes, it is an attack on the 2A. What about people who cut their wrists? Or take an overdose? Or suicide by cop? Or CO2 poisoning? Gimme a break Dimond. You dont need to lecture us about firearm safety. Why not talk about the destruction of the nation’s biblical foundations? About the Destruction of the family through divorce? Breakdown in morality, ethics, integrity? Horrible broken public education system? These are the real problems!

  10. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Reader edsavoir writes:

    Well… first off if you want to convince me that you’re not attacking the 2nd amendment… never use “Every town for Gun Safety” as a source… they have a clear anti firearm agenda… people have been warning about a rise in suicide from the start of this lockdown before the massive buying of firearm… so called progressive politicians and the News media have blood on their hands

  11. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Reader David Marks writes:

    Diane, this is not only frightening, but desperately unnerving.

  12. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Reader Kurt K Guy writes:

    Yes, there are a lot of first time buyers, but there are also a lot of repeat buyers.
    Plus, will we really ever know if the person didn’t have a gun would they still have killed themselves? A gun does make it easier, but the intent doesn’t change.

  13. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Reader Jimmy Bobby

    Make no mistake. More cars mean more car accidents. Let’s lock those cars up in the garage are hide the keys.

  14. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Reader Dr Scott Bonn writes:

    Contrary to popular belief and media stereotypes, the suicide problem in the U.S. is much greater than the murder problem, as suicides outnumber murders more than 3:1. Fear induced rage and alienation are the negative social forces responsible.

  15. Diane Dimond on July 6, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Reader Joe Bob Nunez writes:

    If someone is going to kill themselves they are going to use any means possible. Don’t blame the gun.

  16. Diane Dimond on July 8, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Reader Joe Bob Nunez writes:

    If someone is going to kill themselves they are going to use any means possible. Don’t blame the gun.

  17. Diane Dimond on July 8, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Reader Rob Brown (from Australia) writes:

    Hi Diane Dimond,

    If you ever want to know why the rest of the world doesn’t understand Americans, its right here. You raise an alarming and disturbing statistic about suicide by handgun, and 2 of the first 3 comments (on Facebook) show more concern for the gun, than their fellow citizen.

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