Objectives\ud To compare the sociodemographic characteristics of firearms suicide decedents and other suicide decedents in the Republic of Ireland between 1980 and 2005.\ud \ud Study design\ud A cross-sectional study of sociodemographic characteristics of those who committed suicide with a firearm and those who committed suicide by an alternative method.\ud \ud Methods\ud Suicide data from 1980 to 2005 inclusive, provided by the Central Statistics Office of Ireland, were analysed. For the purpose of this paper, suicide method was collapsed into two groups: firearm-assisted suicide (FAS) and non-firearm-assisted suicide (n-FAS). Differences in gender, marital status (married vs not married), area of residence (urban vs rural), agri-employment (agri-employed vs not agri-employed) and age were examined between the two groups. A logistic regression is presented using suicide method (FAS vs n-FAS) as the criterion variable and individual factors as predictors.\ud \ud Results\ud In total, 9674 suicides were recorded from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 2005. Seven hundred and ninety-three of these were FAS and 8881 were n-FAS. For both suicide profiles, the deceased were predominantly male, living in a rural setting and not married. However, this profile was more salient in the FAS group. In comparison with the n-FAS group, a greater proportion of the FAS decedents were male [χ2(1)=152.5, P≤0.0001, odds ratio (OR)=4.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.4–6.1], from a rural setting [χ2(1)=153.5, P≤0.0001, OR=4.4, 95%CI 3.2–5.6) and agri-employed [χ2(1)=21.3, P≤0.0001, OR=1.5, 95%CI 1.3–1.8). FAS decedents were significantly younger than n-FAS victims, although the size of this effect was small (z=−8.4, P<0.0005, r=−0.1). There was no difference in marital status between the two groups.\ud \ud Conclusions\ud Risk factors for FAS should inform policy-making in this area, with particular attention paid to protecting young males resident in rural settings. Consideration should be given to targeting agri-employed individuals as a specific at-risk group
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