Does the long-gun registry prevent suicides?
Published Tuesday, October 25, 2011 9:16PM EDT
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians says the gun registry issue is not one of crime prevention, but of suicide prevention.
"As a rural emergency physician and coroner, I can safely say that I've never seen a handgun injury. I have however seen my share of injuries and deaths inflicted by rifles and shotguns. I have felt the pain of investigating a double murder-suicide as a result of escalating domestic violence. Suicide, contrary to public opinion, is often an impulsive gesture. Keeping guns away from depressed people is essential," Dr. Alan Drummond said in an open letter to Parliament.
Former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant agreed.
"This is the triumph of ideology over common sense, particularly, due with respect to suicide by guns," he told CTV's National Affairs Tuesday of scrapping the registry.
About 75 per cent of gun deaths in Canada are due to suicide. Suicide by gun has a 90 per cent fatality rate, higher than any other type of suicide.
Drummond says there has been a 23 per cent reduction in Canadian suicides since 1995.
A controversial study by Dr. Caillin Langmann, a resident in the division of emergency medicine at McMaster University, recently argued that there was no link between gun control and Canada's falling homicide rates.
He also argued that people who don't kill themselves with guns, find other ways to do so.
"There is something called a substitution effect, where people will use other methods if they are serious about suicide," he said on National Affairs.
However, Dr. Langmann's study has been criticized because he has had a history of advocacy against the registry.
"The gun registry has hurt and killed people," he wrote in a widely circulated May 2010 letter.
According to the National Post, Dr. Langmann is also a member of the National Rifle Association's Facebook group.