Title

Firearm Storage and Shooting Experience: Factors Relevant to the Practical Capability for Suicide

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2018

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The capability for suicide is posited to facilitate the relatively rare transition from suicidal ideation to suicidal behavior, although the operational definition of the construct continues to evolve. The Three Step Theory proposes that capability is multifaceted and includes practical capability for suicide, defined as comfort with and access to lethal means. Empirical examinations of this construct are thus far limited. Two previous studies have examined the association between firearm storage and shooting experience and common measures of capability for suicide. This study expands the generalizability of previous findings by investigating the relationship between capability for suicide, firearm storage practices, and experience shooting a firearm in a sample of 300 American firearm owners. We found that individuals who store their firearms unsafely (loaded, in a non-secure location, or without a locking device) and who have greater experience shooting firearms have significantly higher capability for suicide. These findings extend the evidence for the construct of practical capability as it relates to firearms and highlight the need for firearm-specific means safety measures to prevent suicide.

Publication Title

Journal of Psychiatric Research

Volume

102

First Page

52

Last Page

56

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