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Suicide guns: why collect this information?
  1. S W Hargarten,
  2. E M Kuhn,
  3. J A Mercy,
  4. R L Withers,
  5. C L Nie,
  6. M E O'Brien
  1. Firearm Injury Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Stephen W Hargarten,

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Firearm suicide is a worldwide problem. The majority of firearm deaths in many countries are suicides (including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, and the United States).1,2 In the United States, over half of suicides are committed with firearms.1,2 However, we know much more about the characteristics of suicide victims than we do about the firearms that they use.

Although often overlooked, the collection of information on the characteristics of firearms involved in suicide can be very useful for research and for the development and evaluation of prevention programs and policies.3,4 We believe it is important to improve collection of suicide firearm information, as part of the collection of firearm information for all firearm injuries, for the following reasons. First, information on the manufacturers and models of guns used most frequently in suicide can be used to evaluate intervention programs. For example, we used such information to evaluate the extent to which the types of guns used to commit suicide are recovered in gun buyback programs in Wisconsin. Our analysis showed that firearms recovered in …

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