Firearm homicide rates dropped in major metropolitan areas between 2006 and 2010, but more people used guns to commit suicide, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds.

According to Dr. Jim Mercy, a behavioral scientist with the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, older, white Americans are most likely to use a gun to commit suicide, and the increase in firearm suicides coincided with the recession.

"So, it’s quite possible - although suicide is caused by many factors - that the changes in unemployment rates that have occurred are associated with increases in the firearm suicide rates in these urban areas," he said.

Mercy said the CDC conducted the study because gun violence continues to be a major public health issue, and remains a leading cause of death among young people in the United States.

"Among 10- to 19-year-olds, homicide is the second-leading cause of death and suicide the third, and firearms are the primary mechanism used to commit homicide and suicide."

This study follows last week’s opinion from Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel that the state’s schools could not use a current law to arm and train staff as security guards. His opinion is sparking debate, with some arguing that armed staff could prevent a school shooting, while others say the guns themselves are a danger.

More information on that study is at