Is Gun Violence a Public Health Issue?
After the latest mass shooting, both sides of the divisive gun debate are digging in and change appears unlikely. But there are some who frame gun violence in a third way -- as a public health issue. Still others see this as a thinly veiled approach to more gun control.
- David Hemenway - Professor of Health Policy and Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health.
- J.R. Hoell – Republican state representative from Dunbarton and board member of the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition
- Susan Olsen – legislative director for the Women’s Defense League of N.H.
For a look at the statistics, we checked with two researchers, Jaclyn Schildkraut of the State University of New York in Oswego and H. Jaymi Elsass of Texas State University. They have been collecting and analyzing mass-shooting incidents in 11 countries, covering the period from 2000 to 2014. Aside from the United States, the countries they studied are Australia, Canada, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland.
There is of course no “one law” that would prevent all gun massacres, any more than there is “one law” that would eliminate all house fires, all fatal car crashes, or all smoking deaths. Yet American society has made amazing progress at enhancing citizen safety against fires, car crashes, and smoking.