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Gun Violence, Public Health & Rock the Vote

Gun Violence is a Public Health Problem

From the Atlantic:  “Research  studies suggest that, for example, having a gun in the house increased risk of homicide and suicide.  Mark Rosenberg, then the director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control stated in 1994, “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes … It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol—cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly—and banned.”

Medical and public-health professionals have been pushing back—more and more forcefully in recent years. The American Public Health Association and the American Medical Association have both taken to calling gun violence a public-health problem. In 2016, more than 100 medical organizations signed a letter to Congress asking to lift the Dickey Amendment.

“We in public health count dead people. It’s one of the things we do. And we count them in order to understand how to prevent preventable deaths,” Nancy Krieger, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told NPR in 2015.

The CDC is best known for fighting diseases—it’s in the name—but its public-health purview is indeed wider. The agency studies drownings, accidental falls, traumatic brain injuries, car crashes, suicides, and more. And while mass shootings grab headlines, they account for only a small fraction of the 30,000 gun deaths a year in the United States. More than half are suicides. Yet the 1996 amendment has restricted how much the CDC can focus on gun ownership as the risk factor in suicides.”

A potential solution:  Rock the Vote

Written by Sheila Wheeler (15 Posts)

SHEILA WHEELER, RN, MS, is acknowledged as an international expert in the field of telephone triage. She has practiced nursing for over 30 years, primarily in critical care, emergency department and clinic settings. An accomplished writer, educator, researcher and consultant, Ms. Wheeler is currently President of TeleTriage Systems in San Anselmo, California.



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