Discussing the Baker & McPhedran paper, commenter “Ungrateful Troublemaker” asks:
Suicides: Shootings, hangings (whether vertical or assisted horizontal), leaps from high bridges and medication overdoses are rather obvious but what about death-by-motor-vehicle? An area that, for a lot of reasons, is notoriously underreported. Wonder if there has been a marked increase in this form of suicide since the gun buyback?
Excellent question. The graphs above show trends in gun suicide (top panel) and non-gun suicide (bottom panel). If you’re like me, you see big declines in both – no evidence of method substitution there. But if you’re Baker & McPhedran, you might see something else:
Examination of the long-term trends indicated that the only category of sudden death that may have been influenced by the introduction of the NFA was firearm suicide. However, this effect must be considered in light of the findings for suicide (non-firearm).
If the fall in gun suicides had been accompanied by a rise in non-gun suicides, a natural conclusion would have been method substitution. But because the fall in gun suicides was accompanied by a fall in non-gun suicides, we are asked to ignore the result on the basis that there must have been some other societal intervention going on that affected both.
A case of shooting the messenger, perhaps?