Discussions about gun violence call to mind botched burglaries or gang conflicts, but the vast majority of gun deaths in Ontario are suicides. More than two-thirds of Ontario’s firearm fatalities from 2002 to 2016 were suicides.
That’s one of the surprising takeaways from a peer-reviewed study published last month in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Another surprising finding was that while two-thirds of firearm fatalities were suicides, two-thirds of firearm suicide attempts in Ontario were by rural males over age 45. Of 2,009 suicide attempts with a firearm in Ontario over that 15-year span identified by researchers, 1,366 were by men over 45 living in a rural area, with no disparities by income. Over 1,200 of those attempts were successful.
Rural Ontario also had higher rates of gun-related injuries and deaths than urban Ontario.
From 2002 to 2016, according to data from the Centre for Suicide Prevention, 17,968 Ontarians committed suicide by various means. Firearms were used about 11 per cent of the time.