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Jumping the gun: firearms and the mental health of Australians.
Aust N Z J Psychiatry 1996; 30(3):370-81AN

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

The aims of this study were to (i) survey mental health-related correlates of firearms ownership and availability in Australia, and (ii) assess possible causal relationships between civilian gun deaths, gun availability and mental disorders.

METHOD

Available data regarding firearms ownership, injuries and deaths were reviewed as well as studies of (i) gun ownership, suicide and homicide, and (ii) gun control laws and suicide.

RESULTS

Findings indicated that 85% of firearm deaths are triggered by distress, as opposed to crime. Most firearm homicides are intrafamilial or involve familiar persons. Firearm suicide rates, although tapering off in recent years, continue to rise among certain groups. It was also found that: (1) Beyond reasonable doubt, a causal relationship exists between gun ownership and firearm suicides and homicides. The role of method substitution is controversial, but is probably less important among the young. (2) Outside the United States, legislation may be useful in reducing firearm and possibly overall suicide rates. (3) If firearm owners are representative of the community, then 15-20% suffer from a psychiatric disorder at any time. While a modest increase in risk of firearms misuse exists for this group, especially those with a history of substance abuse or violence, concern also arises regarding those with mental disorders who access firearms because owners have not secured them. No uniform definition or way of verifying self-reports exists for gun licence applicants regarding these issues.

CONCLUSIONS

Further regulation of firearm safety and availability is warranted. Public health measures include improved surveillance regarding firearm events, advocacy for appropriate firearm legislation, and better education and communication about firearms.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Prince of Wales Children's Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

8839949

Citation

Dudley, M, et al. "Jumping the Gun: Firearms and the Mental Health of Australians." The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 30, no. 3, 1996, pp. 370-81.
Dudley M, Cantor C, de Moore G. Jumping the gun: firearms and the mental health of Australians. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1996;30(3):370-81.
Dudley, M., Cantor, C., & de Moore, G. (1996). Jumping the gun: firearms and the mental health of Australians. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 30(3), pp. 370-81.
Dudley M, Cantor C, de Moore G. Jumping the Gun: Firearms and the Mental Health of Australians. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1996;30(3):370-81. PubMed PMID: 8839949.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Jumping the gun: firearms and the mental health of Australians. AU - Dudley,M, AU - Cantor,C, AU - de Moore,G, PY - 1996/6/1/pubmed PY - 1996/6/1/medline PY - 1996/6/1/entrez SP - 370 EP - 81 JF - The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry JO - Aust N Z J Psychiatry VL - 30 IS - 3 N2 - OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to (i) survey mental health-related correlates of firearms ownership and availability in Australia, and (ii) assess possible causal relationships between civilian gun deaths, gun availability and mental disorders. METHOD: Available data regarding firearms ownership, injuries and deaths were reviewed as well as studies of (i) gun ownership, suicide and homicide, and (ii) gun control laws and suicide. RESULTS: Findings indicated that 85% of firearm deaths are triggered by distress, as opposed to crime. Most firearm homicides are intrafamilial or involve familiar persons. Firearm suicide rates, although tapering off in recent years, continue to rise among certain groups. It was also found that: (1) Beyond reasonable doubt, a causal relationship exists between gun ownership and firearm suicides and homicides. The role of method substitution is controversial, but is probably less important among the young. (2) Outside the United States, legislation may be useful in reducing firearm and possibly overall suicide rates. (3) If firearm owners are representative of the community, then 15-20% suffer from a psychiatric disorder at any time. While a modest increase in risk of firearms misuse exists for this group, especially those with a history of substance abuse or violence, concern also arises regarding those with mental disorders who access firearms because owners have not secured them. No uniform definition or way of verifying self-reports exists for gun licence applicants regarding these issues. CONCLUSIONS: Further regulation of firearm safety and availability is warranted. Public health measures include improved surveillance regarding firearm events, advocacy for appropriate firearm legislation, and better education and communication about firearms. SN - 0004-8674 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/8839949/Jumping_the_gun:_firearms_and_the_mental_health_of_Australians_ L2 - http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.3109/00048679609065001?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -