Firearms in the homes of suicidal or potentially suicidal adolescents markedly increase their risk for suicide. In fact, the odds that potentially suicidal adolescents will kill themselves go up 75-fold when a gun is kept in the home. And these are not odds to be taken lightly when you realize that 1372 adolescents aged 13 to 19 years intentionally killed themselves with firearms in 1988.1 In the face of these incredibly high odds, why is there not more of a public response to the threat of adolescents killing themselves with a gun? Why does the public get outraged about some low-level risks yet remain silent about adolescents committing suicide with firearms, deadly events that happen three to four times every day? Why are we so bad at translating and acting upon information about such risks?
Part of the problem may be that, although members of
Rosenberg ML, Mercy JA, Houk VN. Guns and Adolescent Suicides. JAMA. 1991;266(21):3030. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470210098041