study by sociology professor Augustine J. Kposowa of the University of California, Riverside, found that states with the highest rates of gun ownership and political conservatism have a greater suicide risk than those with fewer gun owners and less conservatism:
The study, "Association of suicide rates, gun ownership, conservatism and individual suicide risk," was published online in the journal Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology in February.
...With few exceptions, states with the highest rates of gun ownership -- for example, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alabama, and West Virginia -- also tended to have the highest suicide rates. These states were also carried overwhelmingly by George Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
..."Even modest efforts to reform gun laws are typically met with vehement opposition. There are also millions of Americans who continue to believe that keeping a gun at home protects them against intruders, even though research shows that when a gun is used in the home, it is often against household members in the commission of homicides or suicides," Kposowa said.
...Although total suicide rates in the U.S. are not much higher than in other Western countries, without changes in gun-ownership policies "the United States is poised to remain a very armed and potentially dangerous nation for its inhabitants for years to come."