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Gun control and suicide: The impact of state firearm regulations, 1995-2004


  • Hempstead, Dr. Katherine
  • Andres, Dr. Antonio Rodriguez


Suicide is a major cause of preventable death. Restricting access to lethal means has been identified as an effective approach to suicide prevention, and firearms regulations are one way to reduce gun availability. This study examines the relationship between state firearms regulations and suicide among males, using negative binomial regression and state panel data for the years 1995–2004. Results suggest that firearms regulations which function to reduce overall gun availability have a significant deterrent effect on suicide, while prohibited persons categories have less of an effect. Overall, the results suggest that gun control measures such as permit and licensing requirements might have public health benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Hempstead, Dr. Katherine & Andres, Dr. Antonio Rodriguez, 2009. "Gun control and suicide: The impact of state firearm regulations, 1995-2004," MPRA Paper 20728, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20728

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Deborah Azrael & Philip J. Cook & Matthew Miller, 2001. "State and Local Prevalence of Firearms Ownership: Measurement, Structure, and Trends," NBER Working Papers 8570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Karen E. Norberg, 2001. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 219-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, 2006. "Aiming for evidence-based gun policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 691-735.
    4. Moore, Mark & Cook, Phil & Braga, Anthony, 2001. "Gun Control," Working Paper Series rwp01-033, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    5. Clarke, Ronald V. & Jones, Peter R., 1989. "Suicide and increased availability of handguns in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 805-809, January.
    6. Kaplan, Mark S. & Geling, Olga, 1998. "Firearm suicides and homicides in the United States: regional variations and patterns of gun ownership," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1227-1233, May.
    7. Lester, David & Clarke, Ronald V., 1991. "Note on 'suicide and increased availability of handguns in the United States': The influence of firearm ownership on accidental deaths," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1311-1313, January.
    8. Cook, Philip J. & Ludwig, Jens, 2006. "The social costs of gun ownership," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 379-391, January.
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    More about this item


    suicide; guns; panel data; state regulations;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models


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