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The evidence is clear: firearm access contributes greatly to suicide rates, with guns accounting for nearly half of all suicide deaths but just 5% of suicide attempts. As dispiriting as this statistic may be, beneath it lies hope—by taking steps to prevent suicidal people from accessing guns, the most lethal means of suicide, we can make a lifesaving difference. The solutions are already there. We just have to implement them. Confronting the Inevitability Myth represents the culmination of a yearlong project by the attorneys at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to study and analyze suicide in America. We took a hard look at the numbers and the harrowing stories behind them, and identified the smart gun laws and intervention programs that are most effective at saving lives from suicide. And when you ensure that a person in mental crisis doesn't get their hands on a gun, you really are saving a life. As you'll learn in the coming pages, most people who attempt suicide with methods other than a firearm survive, and most survivors never attempt suicide again, going on to live long lives and contribute positively to society. In other words, the idea that suicide is inevitable is a myth, and a deadly one at that. We hope that this report will help dispel this myth, spark conversation, and motivate lawmakers and community leaders to adopt the strategies proven to prevent gun suicide.This report has detailed important steps our leaders should take today to dispel inevitability myth and save more lives. These data-driven best practices are just a start, but they chart a clear path to progress and prevention. The time to act on them is now.
From 2010 to 2014, our state suffered an average of 389 gun-related deaths per year—more than one death per day. In addition, 533 Minnesotans per year were the victims of non-fatal shootings that often cause debilitating, life-long injuries. 1 That's a total of 922 firearm deaths and injuries every year in our state.When we lose family, friends, or neighbors to gun violence, we feel tremendous pain. When we hear about an innocent bystander who will never walk again because of a stray bullet, we are rightly outraged. But gun violence doesn't just shake us emotionally and morally—it also imposes enormous financial costs and generates vicious cycles of fear and flight that damage our economy.The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in Minnesota: A Business Case for Action documents the staggering economic price that Minnesotans pay each year on account of gun violence. Immediately after a trigger is pulled, the bills begin to pile up: healthcare costs to repair shattered limbs and punctured organs, law enforcement and criminal justice expenses to investigate violent gun crimes and incarcerate offenders, costs incurred by businesses to cover for seriously injured or dead employees, and lost employee wages.