Does State Firearm Legislation Have a Differential Impact on the Veteran Suicide Rate Compared to the General Population?
This thesis examines veterans’ mental health in the United States, focusing specifically on suicidality. Suicide among military service members and veterans has risen year over year since 2001, in spite of significant efforts to mitigate the epidemic. Suffocation, poisoning, and firearms are the three most common methods of suicide. Of them, firearms are both the most common method and the most amenable to public policy intervention. This thesis focuses on gun policy as a mechanism to limit suicide. The question in this thesis is whether there is a differential impact of gun laws and the rates of veteran suicide compared to the general population. In other words, are veterans suicide rates more or less responsive to state gun laws than non-veteran suicide rates? A large body of evidence suggests that stricter gun laws reduce suicide rates. However, none of the evidence examines veterans. Compared to nonveterans, veterans own firearms at a greater rate, practice less safe gun storage habits, and are more likely to use firearms as a means of suicide. These systematic differences suggest the possibility of a differential impact of gun laws and the rates of veteran suicide compared to the general population. Using data from the VA National Suicide Data Report 2005-2016 and The Changing Landscape of U.S. Gun Policy: State Firearm Laws 1991-2016, I examine the impact of gun law provisions at the state level on veteran and general population suicide rates. The results based on state and time fixed effects regressions suggest a statistically significant difference in the impact of guns laws on the suicide rates between the veteran and the general population.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.