Sean Joe

Blacks and whites have different attitudes towards gun control shaped by the two races’ different experiences with gun deaths, according to a March 22 article in The Washington Post. Whites are five times more likely to commit suicide with a gun than to be shot with a gun, the article said. By contrast, Blacks are five times as likely to be killed by other people with guns as to use a gun to commit suicide. Partly due to this perceived threat of homicide, Blacks on average are more likely to support gun control. But suicides don’t spur the same response from whites, despite the fact that suicides nationally account for almost two times as many gun deaths as homicides, the article said. “We have less empathy with those who take their own lives,” ISR researcher Sean Joe told The Post. “So we don’t have the same national outcry. The key argument for me is that increased access to firearms increases suicide and homicide.” Experts cite the need for both increasing mental health services and limiting firearms. But, Joe said, “If I had to choose one thing, I would try to reduce access and availability of firearms. The means matter more.”