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Guns, kids and suicidal tendencies: A risky combination

Nearly 20 percent of children and young people at risk for suicide say there's a gun in their home, new research shows.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor May 6, 2013 6:00PM

Nearly 20 percent of children and young people at risk for suicide say there's a gun in their home, USA Today reports. Among these youths, 15 percent know how to get their hands on both the gun and bullets, new research shows.

“That's a volatile mix: kids at risk and the means to complete suicide,” Stephen Teach told the newspaper. Teach will present his study today at a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington.

Photo: Gun/ Scott Olson/Getty Images More from MSN Living: 'Smart guns' may help prevent violence

Nearly 2,000 young people in the United States ages 5 to 19 committed suicide in 2010. Almost half of these suicides involved firearms.

More from MSN Living: Infographic: A look at guns in America

Here’s a quick look at some of the findings of the study:

  • Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among teens ages 15 to 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Research suggests that about one-third of children live in homes with a firearm.
  • About 1.5 million children live in a household where guns are kept loaded and unlocked.
  • Research shows that keeping a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide by nearly five times.
  • According to the CDC, 85 percent of suicide attempts with guns prove fatal, compared with 1 to 2 percent of attempts made by slashing one's wrists or taking pills.
  • One-fourth of teens who survived a suicide attempt said they thought of suicide just five minutes before making the attempt.
  • According to the CDC, 8 percent of high school students have attempted suicide in the past year, while less than 1 percent of adults ages 18 to 54 have attempted suicide in the past 12 months.
  • Fewer than 10 percent of those who survive a suicide attempt go on to kill themselves.

Read the whole story here.

Tell us: Do you think access to guns and ammunition increases the possibility of at -risk youth committing suicide?

Bing: How to talk to your kids about gun safety

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Photo: Gun/ Scott Olson/Getty Images

19Comments
Jun 1, 2013 3:16PM
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Guns aren't the only way to kill yourself but probably the most convenient or popular. You can Overdose, cut your wrists, sit in a car in the garage, jump off a building, etc. Once the choice is made the way is secondary.... Guns don't commit the suicide nor do they exacerbate the situation (IMO). Kids would simply find another way to exit from this world. Parents could be a big solution here if they recognized the signs or talk to their children about being more resilient. It is easy to blame an inanimate object but the inanimate object didn't cause the obvious mental condition that led to the suicide nor could it stop or prevent that suicide itself but people can make a difference. Get to the root cause.
Jun 1, 2013 2:01PM
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While I have no kids in the house, I do have young nieces/nephews visit occasionally. I also keep a loaded weapon in the house. However this loaded weapon is in a "quick access" safe. This safe will only open with my fingerprint scan! This safe was surprisingly inexpensive! Every firearm owner that is torn between having a loaded firearm at the ready for family defense and making sure that children and unauthorized individuals cannot gain access should look into this option!!
Jun 1, 2013 1:54PM
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Let them remove themselves from the gene pool. They will also be the crap humans we have to pay for while they sit in jail or in a mental institution. So keep your guns where and how you want after all its not the gun that did the killing its the trash pulling the trigger.
Jun 1, 2013 6:48AM
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They are all Obama supporters w/ buyers remorse for giving him another term. I would do the suicide route also.

Jun 1, 2013 6:45AM
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Yet another I hate guns story from azzwipe MSNBC, give a damn rest already.  About time you have pro gun stories, so much for a fair & balance in shoving you garbage down our throats. abig F.U.
Jun 1, 2013 5:43AM
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Try remembering being a teenager.  Times are far different from when I was a teenager and that was only 16 years ago.  Suicide sadly is on the rise and children much younger than 15-18 are killing themselves on a daily basis.  Yes, methods other than guns can be used to kill oneself.  However suicide by gun has the highest success rate. What's wrong with educating and asking questions in an attempt to lower the rate of suicides?

Jun 1, 2013 3:57AM
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    I have several friends that work in the oil industry and have been to every stinkhole in the world....they will yell on top of the highest mountain that America is the safest place on the planet because we have a Constitutional right to own a firearm to defend ourselves and our family.....if some dummy wants to use his 2nd Amendment right to go meet Satan....have at it.
Jun 1, 2013 3:55AM
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Adults, too. My dad just put a hole in his temple Wednesday. The quality of life he was experiencing was declining rapidly, (he blacked out, fell and broke his arm last Wednesday), and I guess he felt he was going to get worse instead of better.
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