Executive Summary

There needs to be an increase in attention to suicide and mental health in the realm of gun control. As suicide is a complex issue it is harder to talk about then other issues relating to gun control, those being school shooting and gun homicides. Even though it is not talked about as much it is still very important. sigifcnallty more people die each year from gun suicide than by gun homicide.  As this is the case the United States needs to adopt more and different legislative to help decrease the amount of suicide. The U.S should adopt some of the legislative from Canada such as their PAL system. In this system it requires a background check every 5 years and each time a person purchases a gun. This means that there would be a significant increase in background checks in the United States if such a plan would be adopted. This would weed out and decrease those who own or have access to a gun that could harm themselves or others. There needs to be legislative that targets mental health in the aspect of gun control. This will allow for a decrease in suicide as “ “Population attributable risk proportions for suicide associated with mental disorders are in the range of 47%–74%.” Suicide is a very impulsive decision meaning if you stop or prevent someone once it gives a much greater chance and opportunity for that person to get the help that they need. Mental health is a very serious issue affecting most people either directly or indirectly that can not be fixed or helped when mixed with a deadly firearm.  

User generated Content

I felt like Laura Fathauer’s presentation about user-generated Content was interesting and fun to hear about. I never realize that the average person through crowdsourcing ould actually makes a rather large impact. She talked about an example of where there was a dead body of a mother’s child, I believe if I remember correctly, being found years after by someone walking their dog looking for it. User-generated content could possibly be useful to my academic career if, for say, I became a researcher d a large amount of data or human resources. This could be comedy through crowdsourcing and may benefit me if I ever do become something like that in the future.  Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation.


  • Intro- giving a brief description of the problem and the thesis of the paper.
    • Thesis – There needs to be an increase in attention to suicide and mental health in the realm of gun control.
  • History and Background Information- Give some stats and background information that is going to be used throughout the paper. Such as the number of people dying to guns each year by type of death.
    • A pie graph for this data
  • The first argument- Saying that learning or using some of the gun control and regulations from Canda could benefit the United States as it would drastically increase the number of mental health checks and background check
      • Chart comparing Canda Gun death Statistics to those of the United States.
    • Counter- While it could help many people would not want that much government control over guns
      • While it technically would mean that the government would have slightly more control over someone’s ability to own a gun it would not drastically affect current gun owners as the only major change would be a background check every five years or whenever someone buys a gun.
  • The second argument- Gun suicides are the vast majority of gun deaths and are the most important aspect and ignored accept o dun deaths.
    • Counter- People choose to die so it’s not as important as a School shooting or gun homicides as a whole.
      • While they may have at first believed they wanted to commit suicide much time it is an impulsive decision.
  • The third argument- If the access of guns is reduced it allows for anyone attempting to suicide chance of dying to be drastically reduced.
    • Counter – People could comment suicide with another method
      • But people are unlikely to attempt suicide again after a failed attempt and guns increase the chance of a successful suicide by 9xs
  • Conclusion- Summarize my thesis and arguments.

My arguments in this and counter are very summarized and very shallow.

Arugmets 2 & 3

Argument 2-  Gun suicides are the vast majority of gun deaths and are the most important aspect and ignored accept o dun deaths.

In the United States, the current largest issue is with guns and mental health suicide. As of 2017 23,854 people committed suicide with a firearm.( This is 56% of the total amounts of suicide that year. Firearms are about twice as much as the next way of people committing suicide, that being Suffocation with about 13,000 people.  This shows that firearms make a majority that is not even close to the next way of suicide. When comparing gun suicide to gun deaths it is a similar story in the same year 2017, about 14,000 of which the vast majority makes up norma gun homicides(“Gun Violence Archive”). While school shootings probably get the most attention by the media when compared to the number of suicide deaths it is not close. 337 people were killed in mass shootings that year, as that was a few years ago a person could argue that they have a drastic increase since then. This, however, is not the case. In 2019 at least for the data that is available a similar amount of people died to mass shootings. It was 389 people that died this year due to them. These numbers are not comparable at all. While any death is horrible but there is a larger ability to save more people living with legislation that is targeted at mental health. This can be done because “Population attributable risk proportions for suicide associated with mental disorders are in the range of 47%–74%” (Swanson, McGinty, & Fazel, 2015). This shows that if there was legislation such as mental health checks and background checks when someone purchases a gun. Doing these things could have the potential to save many times more life’s then compared to trying to create legislation to reduce mass shootings or homicides.

Authors Kochanek, Murphy, et al. Name of the article- National Vital Statistics Reports. Link -   ( This article has the total deaths/injuries caused by firearms.)

Gun Violence Archive. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Swanson, J. W. S., McGinty, E., & Fazel, S. (2015, May). Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy. Retrieved from


Argument 3- If the access of guns is reduced it allows for anyone attempting to suicide chance of dying to be drastically reduced.

Increasing gun control has the properties to greatly reduce the suicide rate. People could argue that these people will try to commit suicide with something else if they are unable to get a gun but this I not true. Suicide is a very impulsive thing. Of those that attempt self-harm, only 2% commit suicide with that year and only 7% do it within the next 9 years (Lewiecki & Miller, 2013). This matter is especially important when considering firearm “if you attempt suicide with a firearm you are 9x more likely to be successful in killing your self as opposed to hanging or cutting your self or taking pills” (Professor Charles Smith Interview) This means that if there was less access for firearms there would be a statically higher chance of more people living and recovering. As to how to create such a change putting into place red flag laws could help. A few states implemented already but some of these states only do it in very rare cases. These laws allow for police or the courts to tempory confiscate the firearm that is viewed as high risk to themselves or others. Those deemed as high risk generally spoke about suicidal thoughts they were having or have discussion shooting people (Williams, 2019).

Lewiecki, E. M., & Miller, S. A. (2013, January). Suicide, guns, and public policy. Retrieved from

Williams, T. (2019, August 6). What Are ‘Red Flag’ Gun Laws, and How Do They Work? Retrieved from

Professor Charles Smith was the expert I did my interview with.

New Annoations

  1. Gun violence and mental health. (2019, January 4). Retrieved from
    1. This talks about mental health and its perception in the media. It was written by the AFt or The American Federation of Teachers. This article will help with the background information section of my essay as it talks about mental health and how it is talked about currently. It doesn’t have a published date but it uses many quotes from 2018 so it is relevant. I found this source by searching Google for gun control mental health.
  2. Gun Violence Archive. (n.d.). Retrieved from
    1. This is a website that tracks gun deaths as they are verified. They break down the numbers into many categories such as Suicide, Mass shootings, Mass Murders, Homicide, Officer-involved, and many more. Some of these categories such as suicide will be helpful for current numbers of gun suicides and I can use the other categories to compare them to suicide to show that suicide takes up a large portion of gun deaths. It doesn’t have a published date but it gets updated as it receives new death or incidents. I found this source by looking at the sources of a CBS article. GVA is an independent research and data collection organization.
  3. FastStats – Leading Causes of Death. (2017, March 17). Retrieved from
    1. This website has the number os deaths by type in the United States. It was created by the Center For Disease Control. This article will allow me to show where suicide is ranked for the leading cause of death and compare it with other types of deaths which can show that it is a bigger problem than people think. The fastest numbers they have are from 2017 so it is rather new and would be comparable to today. I found this by searching Google for United States leading Causes of death.

Argument 1

Argument 1-

The United States policies are outdated compared to other countries. This leads to some problems more apparent here than in other places. one such place Is Canada. Compared to the United States, Canada has more background checks and other precautions to help detect if any person that owns a gun has mental issues that put themselves or others in danger. This is done through a system called Possession and Acquisition Licence, or Pal. In this system, you need to go through training and a background check before you get the license and one periodically after that. If this system was used in the US it would help to save some of those that commit suicide with a gun as some may be stopped by something being seen during one of those man background checks.

Sources: Used for general information about the PAL and how it works.

Canadian Firearms Program. (2018, March 14). Retrieved from

Trade Mark Presentation

I feel like Trade Mark was an interesting person whose presentation was similarly interesting. I never heard music which was entirely just sampling from others. I felt like he did teach me a lot especially about music or movie copyright law. I never really thought about why movies had the FBI warning and just assumed it was created by the government and not the actual producers of the movie. I also thought it was interesting what he did with one of his CD’s. I thought that having the terms and conditions for the CD says you can’t actually listen to it was a funny idea and I wonder if it would have held up in the court of law.  I did feel like after the presentation I had a more solid understanding of copyright laws.

Annotated Bibillography

  1. Paul S. Appelbaum, M. D. . author. (2017). Does the Second Amendment Protect the Gun Rights of Persons With Mental Illness? Psychiatric Services, (1), 3.
    1. What- The source covers whether or no the 2d amendment protects someone who has a mental illness.
    2. Who- The author has an Md and is a professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law at Columbia University
    3. Why- I choose this source because it deals with the issue of mental health and if they are able to own a gun and mental health and gun control is a main topic.
    4. When- the article was written in 2017 so the article is rather new and relevant to me
    5. Where- I found this source through the osu library
    6. How? I found this article by searching in the osu library database “mental health” and “gun control”. I also limited by results to those within the last few years.
  2. Kegler SR, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA. Firearm Homicides and Suicides in Major Metropolitan Areas — United States, 2012–2013 and 2015–2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1233–1237. DOI: icon.
    1. What- The source covers firearm homicide and suicide rates
    2. Who- Some of the authors have written previously about topics similar to this one such as a paper about the trends in suicide rate in the United States
    3. Why- I choose this article because it had some statistics I would like to use in my paper, those stats being related to the portion of people committing suicide by firearm, the ratio of homicides to suicides committed by firearms, and others similar to those.
    4. When- This article covers the time from 2015-2016 so the data is still relatively new and relevant.
    5. Where-  This article comes from the CDC
    6. How? I found this article y searching Google for “firearm suicide statistics CDC”
  3. Firearms Licensing. (2018, February 27). Retrieved from
    1. What- The sources explain what is a Possession and Acquisition Licence or PAL and some of the restrictions and requirements that go into that
    2. Who- N/A No authors it is on the Canadian Mounted Police website
    3. Why- I choose this source because it will help me to understand the differences between the USA gun control laws and Canada. This may allow me to find some alternatives to the United States system which could improve things here
    4. When- N/A no published date but I am assuming that they keep it up to date because it is a government website
    5. Where- Article comes from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website
    6. How- I found this source by looking up “Canada Pal” into google
  4. Gold, L. H., & Simon, R. I. (2016). Gun violence and mental illness. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association Publishing.
    1. What- This book talks about gun violence, mental illness, and suicides. It also talks about how to reduce  suicide by firearm and gun violence as a whole
    2. Who- The author is a Georgetown University Clinical Professor and has 30 years of med-legal experience
    3. Why- I choose this article because during my interview with my expert he said this book would be a good choice for the topics of suicide and firearms.
    4. When- Published n 2016 so it would still be relevant as not much time as passed
    5. Where- This book is available in the Thompson Library at osu
    6. How- I found this book by the recommendation during my expert interview.

Expert Interview answer

This interview was done with Charles Smith.

  1. Do you consider your self more liberal or conservative for gun policy?
    1. Politically I consider my self more conservative but I tend to be more libertarian for a lot of issues.
  2. School shootings have been talked a lot with gun control to make changes. Do you think there needs to be a change and if so what kind of change?
    1. You need to first figure out what problem you want to solve. Like any sort of policy What are we hoping What do you want to fix. So if the question is how to fix school shootings, that would be a different answer than how to fix suicide by gun, how do you fix gun homicides because they are very different things. You are not going to have one answer that fixes everything. Right now school shootings are so infrequent and so far in-between. That right now the biggest issue is gun suicides.
  3. Do you think gun suicides are the biggest issue?
    1. Yes… Yes because they take far more lives every year than school shootings and homicides combine
  4. Do you think mental health issues is the cause?
    1. I do think mental health plays a big role in it. But we have to be cautious when we talk about mental health because of all violent crime that is committed only 3-5% are caused by individuals that have a mental illness so you are looking at again a very small group. So the ones that is mental illness you have to ask your self is there a particular illness that you can point to and you look at the usual suspects bipolar disorder, manic depression. The one that tends to be more of an issue tends to be bipolar. Induails that tend to be depressed are more likely to hard them self’s while bipolar harms others. So now we are talking about less than 1% so it is still a little tiny number.
  5. So if we took away guns do you think there will be fewer suicides?
    1. Yes, there is hardly any correlation between other items and suicides. If you take firearms out of the equations you have the opportunity to reduce suicide by about 70%. There is a historical over in our history department, Randy Rock, that has data that shows an almost perfect correlation between firearm in the home and suited if you remove the firearm then you have a lower instance of suicide by other means. Some folks call it substitutions affect if a firearm isn’t available they will find another way they will take pills, cut their wrist, hang themselves but that doesn’t seem to be the case
  6. So was that a paper he wrote?
    1. He has a book called American Homicides and the idea of firearms and suicide is a topic that he will sometimes cover in his course on the American Justice System History 2015
  7. Do you think the issue is with mental health or that guns make it so much easier?
    1. There is with firearms the instrumental effect. Firearms are more lethal than just about any other device. If you attempt suicide with a firearm you are 9x more likely to be successful in killing your self as opposed to hanging or cutting your self or taking pills. As there is this inherent lethality, yes. So that brings up the issues that suicide is a spur of the moment idea and in that moment if there was access to a firearm you will be 9x more likely to kill yourself. absent access to the firearm you are more likely to live. So that brings up the question how do you know if an individual is suicidal. What factors can you make that lends you to believe that someone may be suicidal and then if you think they are what can you do to make sure they do not have access to firearms. This is the big issue surrounding the red flag laws where the sate law enforcement can do in and can temporarily remove firearms from their home if It is reported that an induvial might be going to harm others or themselves. This is something that our governor, Dewine, has proposed and they have been chatting about at the state level.
  8. Do other states have such laws?
    1. Yes, Rhode Island was the first state to create a red flag law. So you have individuals that displayed certain behavior that causes law enforcement to be concerned then they can go in and temporarily remove firearms from that home. Then the individual has to go through a process to get the firearm back. Civil libertarians don’t like this because it is a seizing, where is the crime that has been committed. You are entering a home, you are seizing private property. Some folks call this a risk warrant that if they can go into a court and say here are the facts we have and we would like a warrant to go seize these firearms. But for the folks who think highly of the 4th amendment protection against illegal searches and series they take a dim view of this. I have not committed any crimes and you are punishing me by taking away something I believe I have a constitutional right to have.
  9. Any policy to reduce gun suicides?
    1. Certainly more mental health check. I think the simplest way here, and a lot of folks disagree with me on this, there should be universal background checks on firearms purchase. I would like to see certain elements of the Canadian background check system introduced here. In Canada, in order to have a firearm, you first have to have what’s called a PAL license. Stands for possession and accusation license. So if you want to purchase a firearm or if you want to process a firearm you have to have a license.  It is a long process to get the PAL license it requires a background check, it requires a training certificate, you have to have your current and former spouse to sign the form, two references who are not related to you indicate that it’s okay for you to process a firearm. This has to be renewed every 5 years for you to continue to process that firearm. Which means that if something would happen a change in your life circumstances. The next time you go to get that pal license it might be picked up and caught to by the background check. Now this possession and acquisition, when you go to actually buy the firearm there is a separate background check that has to be completed. So every 5 years you are guaranteed to go through a background check but if you purchase a firearm it is going to happen sooner.
  10. Do you know any good papers or articles that relate to suicide and gun issues?
    1. Yes … (proceded to show me a book on his bookshelf called Gun Violence and Mental illness)

This interview was done in person with me writing notes about what he said and also recorded the interview. There are a few places where I paraphrased but I tried to keep that at a minimum.