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An Australian gun buyback program reduced the number of firearms in the country by about 20 percent. Here’s what happened.

When countries reduced access to guns, they saw a drop in the number of firearm suicides:

Firearm suicides plummeted after Australia's gun buyback program began.

Javier Zarracina/Vox

The data above, taken from a study by Australian researchers, shows that suicides dropped dramatically after the Australian government set up a gun buyback program that reduced the number of firearms in the country by about one-fifth.

The Australian study found that buying back 3,500 guns per 100,000 people correlated with up to a 50 percent drop in firearm homicides, and a 74 percent drop in gun suicides. As Vox's Dylan Matthews noted, the drop in homicides wasn't statistically significant. But the drop in suicides most definitely was — and the results are striking.

Australia is far from alone in these types of results. A study from Israeli researchers found that suicides among Israeli soldiers dropped by 40 percent — particularly on weekends — when the military stopped letting soldiers take their guns home over the weekend.

This data and research have a clear message: States and countries can significantly reduce the number of suicides by restricting access to guns.

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