In the wake of one of the deadliest years of mass shootings, with 88 dead as a result of 16 mass shootings in 2012, gun control advocates rightly focus on the chances of minimizing harm that one disturbed individual could cause many other by placing restrictions on access to firearms.
Less often discussed in the gun control debate is what effect measures to limit or restrict access to firearms would have on a different kind of violence: suicides.
In 2010, 38,364 died as a result of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 19,392 people took their own lives using firearms. (The next highest means of committing suicide were suffocation and poisoning, with 9,493 and 6,599 people respectively electing these methods.)
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The number of people dying as a result of suicide with a gun in fact exceeds the number of homicides recorded in the United States using firearms in 2010s. Self-inflicted gunshot wounds have outpaced firearm-related homicides since at least 1920, according to the Boston Globe's Leon Neyfakh.