Chris Bradley: More gun ownership doesn’t mean more suicides

This commentary is by Chris Bradley, of Northfield. He is a registered lobbyist with the Vermont secretary of state on behalf of the Vermont Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, where he is president and executive director.

In considering the intersection of suicide and firearms, it is has been suggested that more firearms in circulation would mean an increase in suicide by firearm. This does not prove to be true in Vermont.

While we do not know the precise number of firearms that are in Vermont, ever since 1998 we have FBI Background Check data that tells us how many sales occurred.

To avoid any issues with attempting to provide an estimate of how many firearms existed in Vermont prior to 1998, I’ll assume that there were none. Between 1998 and 2010 there were 229,624 firearms sold in Vermont per the FBI, so using that number as a starting point, and then graphing the cumulative sales each year from 2011 to 2020, we see the following (a total increase of 376,409 firearms):

Following, we see a graph of suicide by firearm in Vermont across the same period.

Completely ignoring the hundreds of thousands of firearms owned by Vermonter prior to 1998, and despite an increase of 376,409 firearms in the hands of Vermonters from 2011-2020, there appears to be no appreciable change to Vermont’s rate of suicide by firearm for that same period.
In considering a Waiting Period in Vermont and its potential impact on suicide, we can and should look at what the effects of the Brady Bill had on Vermont. The Federal Brady Bill required a 5-day waiting period on the purchase of a handgun, with that law applying to Vermont from February 1994 to November 1998. 

Using data available from the CDC, we graphed the total number of suicides in Vermont, as well as the number of Suicides by firearm in Vermont, starting at one year before the Waiting Period went into effect to one year after it ended.

Based on the above, it would appear that a waiting period actually increased suicide by firearm, but we believe that would be an improper assumption. At best however, it is completely inconclusive as to whether the previous waiting period had any effect on suicide by firearm in Vermont, and it is therefore reasonable to believe it will not have any effect now.

Testimony before House Judiciary revealed 2 incidents where someone went to a Gun Store, bought a gun, and then used that gun to end their lives. If there have been others that have done that in the last 10 years, we do not believe the House Committee on Health Care heard of them, and we note that despite the expansive “Findings” section of H.230, it fails to mention that number.

What we do know is that across the last 10 years, there have been 440,881 background purchases in Vermont, and it is not unreasonable to believe that some number of those purchasers did so because they felt an immediate need for self-defense.

This is not even mentioning that, like it or not, any law that requires that firearms be locked up is explicitly unconstitutional under Heller, and it equally will not pass muster under Bruen. All of which means that it is somewhat unbelievable that “Safe Storage” is even being proposed given that the question as to its constitutionality has already been answered.

Ever since the Heller decision in 2008, a great many have watched with dismay as Courts blindly lost sight of what the word “infringed” meant, and creatively applied all sorts of rationalizations to defend well intentioned laws that none-the-less tread on the individual rights of law-abiding citizens.

That time is gone. After years of not addressing the issue, the Supreme Court of the United States has provided clear guidance on how the constitutionality of a proposed or existing law that deals with the Second Amendment must be resolved. Text, History and Tradition.

Would any of us tolerate a law that said: “You can say whatever you want to say (within reason), but you must wait 72 hours days before you can say ‘that’.”

The Second Amendment is not a Second-Class Right anymore.

“A Right delayed is a Right denied.” – Martin Luther King

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain and Chris Bradley

4 thoughts on “Chris Bradley: More gun ownership doesn’t mean more suicides

  1. I just got this from a friend…. This is what they want/have planned.


    They want us to be disarmed…. not gonna happen. For Gods sake read them and be amazed at what our reps are doing and again ……. Besides the rep who wants us to cry who asked for this ???

  2. Hey Guys,

    This is the way they want you to fight them. They are framing the conversation and we are falling for their trap. It is never about suicide; they are looking for ways to disarm the public.

    A counter would be to solve the problem of suicide, misandry, being prominent in Vermont and society in general. They could care less about ending people’s lives, well not totally true, if they can make money off it they want it state controlled.

    It’s all about power and money.

    they want to frame the defenders of liberty as cold, uncaring and killers. This argument falls into their traps. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but we shouldn’t be leading with this. It’s frustrating when people expose the truth and lose every election year.

    We have to have a different plan, the current one is failing us.

  3. A disarmed public is an ignorant, defenseless victim waiting for either the government or some criminal to show them how powerless they are.

    Guns keep bigots and racists at bay, I know.
    Guns save lives. Not just from killing for food.
    The Government has no right to make any law to restrict the right to own a firearm, knife , rock or even a cannon.
    The Constitution (which they swore an oath to ) is not about our restricting our freedom. It is a rulebook and restrictions on the GOVERNMENT. Not, nor ever “WE THE PEOPLE”, ther founders saw that the government is and will always be an enemy of the people that is why we have said documents.

  4. Unfortunately our leftist overlords don’t enact gun laws using facts. They do however create a environment that does cause more suicides by promoting and encouraging life altering gender change which ends up haunting the Mentally confused subject who eventually realizes what they have done to themselves and ends it. Also on the list is the fear mongering over the climate hoax which causes the mentally unstable to become so depressed they end it. Instead of treating Mental issues they encourage them by making life seem more worthless, ie killing babies in the womb. We need more laws to restrict these types of law makers not to attack the 2nd amendment.

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