The Supreme Court’s ruling on gun ownership focused on citizens’ ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. Surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves, reports the Associated Press. Suicides accounted for about 55 percent of the nation’s nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the past 25 years.
Public-health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater. There has been a significant decline in the past decade in public-health research into gun violence. CDC was a primary funder of research on guns and gun-related injuries, allocating more than $2.1 million a year to such projects in the mid-1990s. The agency cut back research after Congress in 1996 ordered that none of the CDC’s appropriations be used to promote gun control.