Guns accounted for more deaths in Vermont in 2011 than motor vehicle accidents, a first-time occurrence that national gun control groups say is proof stricter laws regulating gun purchase and ownership are needed.
According to a study released this week by the Violence Policy Center in Washington D.C., Vermont had 78 gun deaths in 2011, compared to 54 fatal car accidents as reported by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
Except that all but four of those deaths were suicides. Now, I’m not “pro-suicide” by any means, but it’s a conscious decision by someone to take their own life — not an engagement in a criminal enterprise. Further, what kinds of gun control could prevent using them to kill themselves? Background checks? Limits on magazine capacity? An “assault weapons” ban? Even a “safe storage law” would be useless if it’s the gun owner shooting himself.
The real question to ask is, why are there so many suicides? Death by suicide is rising in almost all states. It could be the recession the country has experienced. So many people have simply given up looking for work. They lose their homes. That can cause family pressures or divorce, which leads to other mental stress issues. Drug use (both legal and illegal) is way up. There is, indeed, ample evidence that many prescription anti-depressants have the opposite effect, or cause psychosis. Banning guns won’t keep people from finding easy ways to kill themselves, nor will it solve the real problem, which is depression in so many people.