gun violence

NATIONAL. Tough Gun Laws Keep More Hands Off the Trigger: Study (HealthDay News)

By Dennis Thompson

MONDAY, March 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Debate over the value of tough state gun control laws has reached a fever pitch following last month's deadly shooting of 17 people at a Florida high school.

Now, results from a new study indicate that such laws are potentially so effective they can prevent firearm-related murders on a regional basis, with the benefits extending into other nearby states that have more lax laws on the books.

States with strong firearm laws have overall lower rates of gun-related murder and suicide, according to the county-by-county analysis.

But counties in states with weak gun laws also appear to gain some protection from gun violence if they are located next to states with stronger laws, researchers reported.

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MIAMI. Guns kill about 90 people a day. Is that a public health threat? (Miami Herald)


February 23, 2018 05:55 PM

On the same day that a troubled former student walked onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and murdered 17 people with an assault-style rifle, at least 28 more people died from gunshots elsewhere in the United States.

Some of those gun deaths were matters of self defense or public safety. Some were suicides, which account for nearly two-thirds of all firearm deaths in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But even though doctors and public health officials have long considered gun deaths a public health threat — firearms kill as many Americans each year as die in car accidents — the CDC and state agencies responsible for reducing preventable deaths can do little when it comes to guns.

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LAS VEGAS. COMMENTARY: A prescription for reducing gun deaths (Las Vegas Review Journal)

By Joseph P. Iser Special to the Review-Journal

Over the past several months, our nation has endured multiple incidents of gun violence and mass shootings that hit especially close to home in Southern Nevada. Deaths and injuries related to firearms continue to be a leading public health crisis in the United States.

For the second year in a row, this number has risen, making it 12 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a community that has experienced the all-too-real consequences of this alarming trend, we can no longer let this problem be put on the back burner as our politicians seek to appease the gun lobby.

In 2016, Nevada voters passed Question 1, approving background checks on private gun sales. Shortly after the election, Attorney General Adam Laxalt told Nevadans that the initiative was not enforceable, even though the question passed. As trusted members of a profession dedicated to protecting and preserving life, we present a united and authoritative voice to an issue that we feel needs to be addressed. We need to enforce the law.

Additionally, numerous professional health care organizations have issued position statements supporting stricter controls on assault weapons, firearm purchases and improved access to mental health and other resources. By using a harm-reduction approach to this issue, we can vastly improve the safety and security of our communities.

These measures can include:

■ Universal background checks on all firearm purchases. As of now, background checks are required for all firearm purchases at gun stores. In an effort to take precautionary measures, we must extend these laws to include all sales at gun shows, by gun dealers and private sales by individuals.

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BOSTON. Boston has fewer gun deaths, more drug problems than most U.S. cities

Dec 6, 2016

Jessica Bartlett Reporter, Boston Business Journal

Boston may have fewer gun deaths and lower teen smoking rates than the average for U.S. cities, but has higher-then-average numbers of people dying of accidental opioid overdoses and people diagnosed with HIV, according to a new report.

The numbers come from Big Cities Health Coalition, a group of 2,800 local governmental health departments that compiles health stats for the biggest cities in the U.S., using an array of state surveys and databases.

When compared to U.S. averages — which include all rural, urban and suburban areas — Boston did better in a number of surprising categories, seeing better diabetes mortality rates per 100,000 people (19.4 compared to 21.1 U.S. average); lower rates of the uninsured (5.1 percent to U.S.’s 11.7 percent); lower firearm mortality rate for every 100,000 people (5.5 for Boston verses 10.43 for the U.S. average); and longer life expectancy (80.2 in Boston verses 78.8 U.S. average).

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KANSAS CITY. Kansas City’s killers: guns, pills and cigarettes (Kansas City Star)


Kansas City has a thing for drugs, guns and smokes.

And that’s killing us.

Data released Tuesday comparing cities on various measures of public health showed Kansas City residents more likely than those elsewhere to drop dead from drugs in the heroin family, to get injured or killed by firearms or to die from lung cancer.

The numbers released by the Big Cities Health Coalition compared 28 cities on measures ranging from cancer deaths to binge drinking. (Fewer Kansas Citians tend to get drunk than those in other cities.) The database covers the largest cities in the country defined by the population within their city limits. That leaves out some large metro areas, such as St. Louis. And not all cities reported data in every category.

Largely drawn from city health departments, the numbers showed deaths from opiates in Kansas City at 15.7 for every 100,000 people — or more than three times the national average.

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NATIONAL. Gun Violence Is a Public Health Crisis (Huffington Post)

By Dr. Mary Bassett, New York City’s Health Commissioner

For far too long, far too many lives have been cut short by the plague of gun violence in the places we live, work, play and love. We can’t wait for Congress to act on gun control; it’s time for the rest of us to take responsibility. For me, it means addressing gun violence as the public health emergency it is.

The mission of public health is to protect and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of entire populations. When public health professionals notice a troubling trend, we can’t sit on the sidelines. We must take action. When we saw that thousands of people were dying before their time due to smoking each year, we aggressively disseminated information about the harms of smoking, implemented new treatment tools and collaborated with lawmakers to raise taxes and ban smoking in public places. Our multipronged approach worked - the adult smoking rate in New York City declined by 35% between 2002 and 2014, and the youth smoking rate fell by 53% from 2001 to 2013.

There’s no reason our country can’t take a similar multipronged approach to prevent gun violence. Community-based interventions like Cure Violence, a program started in Chicago by Dr. Gary Slutkin, are part of this effort. In New York City, Cure Violence aims to reduce gun violence in 17 neighborhoods that account for more than half of the city’s shootings through a collaborative of community organizations and government partners delivering wraparound behavioral and social support services which have been shown to reduce violence.

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NATIONAL. Can We Curb Gun Violence by Treating It Like a Disease? (TIME)

Josh Sanburn @joshsanburn

June 23, 2016

In 2014, a week before Thanksgiving, a 56-year-old man was shot in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Within hours, several of his family members gathered at the crime scene, discussing retribution. They had suffered; now, they wanted others to pay for their pain.

That’s when David Gaskin showed up. He gently probed the family, asking how they were feeling and why they might retaliate. He offered sympathy and counsel, informed by his experiences in prison and as a former gang member. And he repeatedly asked for verbal commitments that they wouldn’t strike back, at least not then. Some agreed–and he promised to follow up.

Gaskin, 34, isn’t a police officer or a psychologist; he’s an outreach worker for a nonprofit initiative, Save Our Streets (SOS). But he and others like him may well be instrumental in curbing America’s gun-violence epidemic on a local level, especially as Congress keeps declining to pass federal gun control.

The key is their unorthodox approach. Unlike cops, who arrest criminals, or coalitions, which raise money to change laws, programs like SOS–now in Oakland, Calif., New Orleans and at least 20 other major U.S. cities–approach gun violence like doctors approach disease: as a contagious bug that must be diagnosed, contained and treated. “Hurt people hurt people,” explains Yvette Simpson, who is spearheading an SOS-like initiative in Cincinnati. And at a time when the American Medical Association (AMA) is calling gun violence a public health crisis, these groups say it’s paramount to manage that pain. It just might prevent the next local shooting, or even the next Orlando.

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