The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence renewed calls for securing guns in Americans’ homes at a time when schools have closed and employers have instituted work-from-home policies during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Many people, young and old, may be experiencing increased anxiety and depression during this time due to fear of infection, financial strain, social isolation, and other stressors related to social distancing and the uncertainty of this pandemic,” the center said in its announcement. “Data shows that during a crisis, easy access to guns significantly increases the risk of death by suicide.”
The Giffords Law Center, which advocates for gun control measures, estimates that 4.6 million adolescents live in homes with loaded guns. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2019 found that between 2005 and 2015, a 10 percentage point increase in gun ownership correlated to an increase in youth suicides of nearly 27%.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative that guns do not fall into the hands of minors and young adults in crisis,” said the center. Colorado has a teen suicide rate that is double the national average.
Last week, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reported that the number of background checks for firearms had doubled compared to 2019. Gun store owners experienced increased traffic as people feared what social conditions would be like under prolonged closures of businesses.