According to Firearm Chronicles
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- It is only the last decade or two when those who want a disarmed population in the West have started to stress “suicide” as a reason for disarming the population. The early pushes for population disarmament were predicated on the excuse of reducing violent crime, particularly homicides. The actual motivation had nothing to do with crime. The original motivation was to reduce armed rivals. In New York, to reduce armed resistance to organized crime, particularly the Tammany Gang. In England, to reduce armed support for a potential revolution. Originally, the push was to eliminate handguns from almost all the population. There was some talk of accidents, but suicides were almost never mentioned.
As gun control policies were implemented in various countries, it became clear violent crime and homicides were not reduced by gun control. The push to ban handguns in the United States had failed, and those pushing for citizen disarmament moved on to semi-automatic rifles. The famous quote by Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center was near the start of this phase. This push did not depend on homicide or violent crime for its existence. Semi-automatic rifles are seldom used in violent crime. Rather it is the similarity in appearance to military firearms which is used, under the pretext that military firearms are not useful to the ordinary citizen, and most citizens are not familiar with them. From the Violence Policy Center, 1988: ..handgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority. Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.
The homicide rate topped out in 1993. As more and more handguns and semi-automatic firearms were sold in the United States, and more and more people obtained carry permits and used them, the homicide rate dropped in half. During the same period, fatal firearm accident rates fell to record lows.
What to do? The idea that “more guns = more homicide” had been demolished. Those pushing for population disarmament created a new pretext. As the homicide rate had dropped, the suicide rate had risen. An Orwellian term was created. “Gun violence”. “Gun violence” was defined as all deaths associated with guns; homicides, whether justified or not; legal intervention, or not; suicides, and accidents. Most people think of “gun violence” as homicides. Over two-thirds are suicides. Only a tiny amount of fatalities with guns are accidental. While the suicide rate had risen, the percentage of suicides with guns had fallen.
Intuitively, people do not think restrictive legislation on guns will reduce suicide. There are many alternatives out there. George Orwell, in 1984, in the last page of PART ONE, foresaw the distopian vision in which control over guns would be claimed to reduce suicide. It was at night that they came for you, always at night. The proper thing was to kill yourself before they got you. Undoubtedly some people did so. Many of the disappearances were actually suicides. But it needed desperate courage to kill yourself in a world where firearms, or any quick and certain poison, were completely unprocurable.
George Orwell, (Eric Blair), was a socialist. For all his brilliant understanding of the totalitarian mindset, Orwell did not consider how easy it is to commit suicide. This is an insane way to view the world. People would not own firearms if they did not perceive benefits. Hundreds of years of history would not show those with firearms ruling those without.
In America, suicides with guns are common because guns are common. Guns are common because people find guns to be useful for numerous purposes. Large numbers of people actively value guns, as seen by the sales figures. There is no persuasive evidence the overall suicide rate would decrease with more restrictions on gun ownership. Focusing on suicide with guns is simply another way to define a social problem as a gun problem. It is a way to define a solution to fit a desired policy. t is not an honest way to deal with social problems and policy decisions.
There are a couple of notable changes from the first edition of the report. For example, the authors concluded in 2018 that there was “limited evidence” that background checks decreased total suicides and “moderate evidence” they decreased firearm suicides. Upon re-evaluating the earlier reports and considering additional studies, the new, downgraded conclusion is that there is “inconclusive evidence” for either. The same downgrade was found for the impact of background checks on violent crime.
Most of the controls being pushed hardest by those who desire a disarmed population, would have no effect on suicide.
Reducing magazine capacity? Only one shot is needed.
Banning semi-automatic guns? Only one shot is needed.
Restricting the carry of guns? Suicides are generally conducted in private.
Suicide is being used as an ideological “hook” to support the policy choices of those who want a disarmed population. Facts matter little to those with an agenda.
In nations where violence of any kind is very low, such as in Switzerland, those who desire a disarmed population hang their desire on the very rare events of a few suicide or homicides in a year. The fact that these are very rare never bothers them.
When you actively dislike the idea of firearms in any hands outside of government and see no positive function for firearms in private hands, you do not see any cost from disarming the population by force. With zero perceived benefits, the cost/benefit ratio is infinite with a tiny perceived benefit.