Suicide and Guns

Lines for Life launches “BeThe1To” program to spread the word about preventing suicide.

Find the Suicide Prevention Resource Center resources and programs here.

Find the ZeroSuicide Toolkit here.

Firearm-related suicides and homicides in Oregon, 2007-2016

Data compiled from Oregon Health Authority Annual Reports

Select the year to link to the OHA graph for that year.

Year Total firearm deaths Firearm homicide Firearm legal intervention

Firearm unintentional/

unknown

Total suicide deaths (from all means)

Firearm suicides

Percent of firearm deaths that were suicide

Suicide by handgun* Suicide by long gun*
2016 503 77 11 3 771 412 82% 309 85
2015 480 94 11 1 761 374 78% 285 67
2014 491 53 16 0 781 422 86% 266 79
2013 453 54 7 4 697 388 86% 252 83
2012 438 54 11 7 717 366 84% 239 81
2011 409 61 6 5 639 337 82% 216 76
2010 454 59 14 5 685 376 83% 235 75
2009 408 55 7 5 640 341 84% 219 79
2008 384 47 8 5 581 324 84% 197 88
2007 379 42 7 3 604 327 86% 203 84

* Type of firearm used was not recorded for all deaths.

In Oregon, at least one person every day takes his life by shooting himself to death.

To reduce the risk of suicide, keep all firearms securely locked, unloaded and stored separately from ammunition or store the firearms in another location such as a firearm storage facility. (If you transfer firearms to a friend, even temporarily, you are required by law to perform a background check on the person to whom you are transferring the firearms.)

When most people think of gun violence, they think of homicides or unintentional shootings. The reality, however, is that most shooting deaths in Oregon are suicides. In fact, about one person a day commits suicide with a gun in Oregon.

Firearm owners are not more suicidal than non-firearm owners; rather, their suicide attempts are more likely to be fatal. If highly lethal means are made less available to impulsive attempters and they substitute less lethal means, or temporarily postpone their attempt, their survival odds greatly increase. Studies in a variety of countries have indicated that when access to a highly lethal and leading suicide method is reduced, the overall suicide rate drops driven by a drop in the restricted method.

Did you know?

  • Firearms used in youth suicide usually belong to a parent. 1
  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death among persons 10-24 years of age in Oregon in 2013. 2
  • The suicide rate among Oregon veterans 18-24 years of age was 85.9 per 100,000 in 2013— almost ten times higher than the state average rate for the same age group of non-veterans.  
  • Firearms were involved in most suicides (52%), followed by hanging (34%).
  • Many suicide attempts occur with little planning during a short-term crisis.
  • 90% of attempters who survive do NOT go on to die by suicide later.
  • Reducing access to lethal means like guns saves lives. 3

Are you a teacher? Learn the signs of suicide and what you can do to prevent a tragedy. Read the Oregon Health Authority’s informational page “What Every Teacher Should Know” or download the brochure.

The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation partners with Lines for Life and the Oregon Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

For more information: Oregon Violent Death Reporting System, Oregon Injury and Violence Prevention Program: http://public.health.oregon.gov/diseasesconditions/injuryfatalitydata/pages/nvdrs.aspx Data Contact: Xun Shen, Xun.Shen@state.or.us Suicide 83% Homicide 13% Legal intervention 2% Unintentional shooting 1% Undetermined shooting 1% Firearm Fatalities by Intent, Oregon, 2010-2014 (N=2,280)