A recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that New Jersey has the lowest rate of youth suicide in the United States, together with the second-lowest rate of household gun ownership.
The study sought to correlate the rates of youth suicide with the prevalence of guns in the home. It concluded that in the 10 states with the highest teenage suicide rates, household gun ownership averaged more than 50 percent, while in the 10 states with the lowest rate of youth suicide the average home gun ownership was twenty percent. The study noted that the “predominant [59%] cause of firearm-related death in the U.S. is suicide” and found that “the prevalence of gun ownership is associated with youth suicide.” Further, the researchers found that “82% of firearm-related suicides among youth . . . involved a firearm owned by a household member.” These are extremely important findings.
We know, of course, that correlation does not equal causation. However, we have expressed our support for our state’s common sense firearm regulations (so far upheld by the courts) on this page many times in the past. These new data may indicate the efficacy of such regulations within the boundaries of the Second Amendment.
The researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health, operating well within their lane, found a clear correlation between household gun ownership and youth suicide. We believe that it is highly unlikely that any other variable could have affected this striking, but understandable, finding. Common sense gun regulation works to protect people, and their children, who do not even know they are being protected. They may even be avid supporters of “Second Amendment” rights. In New Jersey many fewer young people take their own lives with firearms than in many other states. Without clear evidence of causation, we nevertheless believe that this state’s approach to firearms regulation has spared many families the heartbreak of youth suicide.