The male suicide rate using firearms is higher in Switzerland than the rest of Europe. According to a recently published report the higher rate could be linked to military weapons in Swiss homes, reported RTS.
The report published by a researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands looks at the link between firearm ownership and the risk of dying from suicide.
According to the study, most suicides are impulsive. Nearly 50% of survivors of suicide attempts report that they took less than 10 minutes between the decision to die and their suicide attempts, which are typically carried out with the means at hand. The great majority of these suicide survivors never make another attempt and die of natural causes. Because close to 90% of firearm suicide attempts have a deadly outcome, gun owners are unlikely to have a second chance.
Swiss men have much higher firearm suicide rates than men in other European countries and this excess is likely to be due to their easy access to guns, said the authors. Swiss army conscripts keep their guns at home. When the number of conscripts nearly halved in 2003 and 2004 as a result of Swiss military reform, the number of army-issued firearms fell by an estimated 20%. An analysis of suicide rates before and after the reform indicated that male (but not female) suicide rates decreased by 8%, with no evidence of substitution with other means of suicide.
If the Swiss military required remaining conscripts to keep their weapons at their barracks rather than at home, a further decrease in male suicide rates could be expected, according to the author.
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