Year: 2017 Source: American Journal of Public Health.(2017).107(4): 579-581. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303650 SIEC No: 20170382

Objectives. To examine the extent to which 4 laws regulating handgun ownership were associated with statewide suicide rate changes.

Methods. To test between-group differences in statewide suicide rate changes between 2013 and 2014 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia with and without specific laws, we ran analyses of covariance.

Results. We found significant differences in suicide rate changes from 2013 to 2014 in states with mandatory waiting periods and universal background checks relative to states without such laws. States with both laws differed significantly from those with neither. No significant differences in rate changes were noted for open carry restrictions or gun lock requirements.

Conclusions. Some state laws regulating aspects of handgun acquisition may be associated with lower statewide suicide rates. Laws regulating handgun storage and carrying practices may have a smaller effect, highlighting that legislation is likely most useful when its focus is on preventing gun ownership rather than regulating use and storage of guns already acquired.