Census data: more firearm ownership is not associated with higher rate of suicide

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

As famous evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem has discussed, the Bible provides strong support for self-defense.

Grudem looked at the following questions, before turning to the secular data to confirm the Bible:

  • what about turning the other cheek? doesn’t that undermine self-defense?
  • what does Jesus say about the right to self-defense in the New Testament?
  • did Jesus’ disciples carry swords for protection during his ministry?
  • why did Jesus tell his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords?
  • what about Jesus stopping Peter from using force during Jesus’ arrest?

Dr. Grudem concludes that the Bible does teach that self-defense is moral.

Unfortunately, that view is not often not popular in the culture as a whole. There is a large portion of the society that does not want law-abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves from criminals. Not only that, but there seems to be a lot of suspicion about law enforcement, now. We even seem to be losing the ability to see criminals as responsible for what they do, and wanting to protect innocent people from criminals. There are two cultural trends behind this – 1) the push for compassion and non-judgment, and 2) the tendency to turn evildoers into victims.

So, sometimes when the teachings of the Bible, e.g. – self-defense,  fall out of respect in a society, it makes sense to defend what the Bible teaches using ordinary evidence from respected secular sources. And that’s what I’ve done on this blog on so many issues where the secular culture disagrees with the Bible.

Regarding self-defense, I previously wrote about how the gun ban in Australia did not reduce suicide rates, because people who wanted to commit suicide simply found another way to commit suicide. On the broader issue of self-defense, I blogged about a recent study from Harvard University, and in that same post, I also linked books from Harvard University Press and Chicago University Press showing that banning guns raises rates of violent crime, and enacting concealed carry lowers rates of violent crime.

Today, though, I have another point about guns and suicide rates from the Daily Caller.


According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, which cover years 1981 through 2013—incidentally, a period in which Americans acquired an additional 195 million firearms—the firearm suicide rate (the number of suicides per 100,000 population) decreased five percent, while the non-firearm suicide rate increased 27 percent.

Although more law-abiding people got guns, the crime rates have been declining.  We are now down to 1970s levels of violent crime. Part of that is due to tougher sentencing and more imprisonment of criminals, but part of that is due to more law-abiding citizens defending themselves from criminals. And if we want fewer prisons, a good way to achieve that cost-effectively would be to encourage more law-abiding people to own firearms, not less.

So, if the gun control crowd tries to make the case that more guns are causing more people to commit suicide, then we should be ready to answer with some data. Hope this data helps you to make your case.

2 thoughts on “Census data: more firearm ownership is not associated with higher rate of suicide”

  1. If you haven’t read “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend, I would highly recommend it. It is all about standing up for yourself in a Biblical way.

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