Single article

DOI: 10.47026/2413-4864-2022-3-85-98

Antonova N.D., Golenkov A.V.

The Impact of Firearms Availability on the Frequency of Homicides and Suicides

Keywords: firearms, suicide, homicide, epidemiology, mental disorders

The mortality of the population from external causes ranks third after circulatory diseases and oncological pathology. The purpose of the review is to study the prevalence of firearms in the regions of the world and its impact on the frequency of homicides and suicides (intentional external causes of death) in various socio-demographic groups of the population. The issue of allowing firearms is solved in different ways – from a ban on its storage, carrying and use among the population to free sale and wide circulation in a particular country. In general, there is a growing trend in the number of people owning firearms, including the Russian Federation and its subjects. Availability of firearms at home, as well as free access to their use (among police officers, military personnel, etc.) increases the risk of suicide in these population groups several times with lethal outcomes in 85–91% of cases. Although the murder rate has been declining in recent years in the world and Russia, the share of violent crimes involving firearms is increasing. The number of mass murders committed by young people (schoolchildren, students, military personnel, recently conscripted into the army), whose victims are primarily their peers, is growing. Both murders and suicides are many (3-9) times more likely to be committed by males of mature (able-bodied) age. People having previous criminal records for illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, possession of firearms and other misdeeds often turn out to be murderers, and persons with mental pathology – self-murderers. At this, murders with subsequent suicide are most often committed with the use of firearms. Legislative restrictions on trafficking in firearms contribute primarily to reducing mass murders, as well as to reducing its use as instruments of murder and suicide.

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About authors

Antonova Nina D.
Resident, Department of Psychiatry, Medical Psychology and Neurology, Chuvash State University, Russia, Cheboksary (nina219617@gmail.com; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7187-8185)
Golenkov Andrey V.
Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of Psychiatry, Medical Psychology and Neurology, Chuvash State University, Russia, Cheboksary (golenkovav@inbox.ru; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3799-0736)

Article link

Antonova N.D., Golenkov A.V. The Impact of Firearms Availability on the Frequency of Homicides and Suicides [Electronic resource] // Acta medica Eurasica. – 2022. – №3. P. 85-98. – URL: https://acta-medica-eurasica.ru/en/single/2022/3/11/. DOI: 10.47026/2413-4864-2022-3-85-98.