Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis

May 27, 2022

Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis

Reframing the issue: Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis

Guns kill more than 38,000 people and cause roughly 85,000 injuries and or disability a year. That’s over 100 gun deaths every single day in America.

Guns are the leading method of suicide in the U.S., accounting for half of all suicide deaths (CDC, 2019).

Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S.

This is on top of the massive psychological and emotional impact gun death or injury can have on a person, household, or community.

Gun violence is a deeply complex issue, one that must be addressed through a public health lens, not a political debate over gun policy or criminal justice issues.

In fact, many of the top organizing medical professional groups have declared gun violence a public health crisis - including the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association (AMA) and American Nurses Association.

It wasn’t until very recently (2019), that the US government even allowed bodies like the CDC or NIH to study gun violence through this public health lens. The previous Dickey Amendment (passed in 1996) disallowed federal funding to be used to promote or advocate for gun control, cutting research dollars to health agencies like the CDC and NIH.

Healthcare workers absolutely have a voice and platform to speak out against gun violence. For example, Cori Bush, also a registered nurse, became a civil rights activist and community organizer and now a Congresswoman, following the murder of Michael Brown Jr.

Cure Violence

Cure Violence was founded by Gary Slutkin, M.D., former head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Intervention Development Unit. Cure Violence launched in West Garfield Park, one of the most violent communities in Chicago, and was quick to produce results, reducing shootings by 67% in its first year.

Cure Violence Cure Violence stops the spread of violence by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control:

  • Detecting and interrupting conflicts,
  • Identifying and treating the highest risk individuals
  • Changing social norms

Cure Violence is guided by clear understandings that violence is a health issue, that individuals and communities can change for the better, that community and strategic partnerships are keys to success, and that rigorous, scientific, professional ways of working are essential for effectiveness.

Resources

*We are happy to donate 100% of our net-profits from our Gun Reform Now collection to Everytown, advocating for a legislative plan that includes more thorough background checks and mandates for safer gun storage, while opposing ideas like arming teachers.

*As of 7/11/22 we have donated over $2,500 to Everytown. Please read further on Where We Donate.

Books: 
Gun Violence Prevention: A Public Health Approach from the American Public Health Association

Private Guns, Public Health by David Hemenway

The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know,” by Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss

Documentaries:

Under the Gun

The Price of Freedom

Ted Talks:

Next Steps & Organization to Get Involved With:

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