The public health approach has been effectively applied to problems facing our society such as deaths and injuries from tobacco and motor vehicles. Such an approach focuses on injury prevention by examining interventions such as enhancing product safety, changing social norms, and passing new regulations and laws.
We must apply a public health approach to gun violence to reduce the over 32,000 gun deaths and 80,000 injuries each year in the U.S.
A public health approach would apply such practices as those listed below–many which have been used to reduce deaths from tobacco use and motor vehicles:
- Firearm product safety improvements like tamper-resistant serial numbers, magazine safety locks, childproof triggers, drop tests, recall authority, and microstamping.
- Insurance for gun owners to insure against gun thefts, accidents and crimes.
- Tougher penalties for safety violations.
- Taxation on firearms to help fund safety programs.
- Media messaging and public education on the risks and consequences of gun violence.
- Physician education and counseling to improve awareness of gun safety practices and curb at-risk behaviors.
- Universal licensing and background checks, subject to periodic renewal, to ensure that users continue to meet safety standards.
- Improved data collection and reporting to identify trends and correct them.
- Firearm marketing regulations to standardize the design, marketing and sales of firearms as well as regulating distribution and after-sales.
- Enhanced oversight of gun dealers to reduce illegal gun trafficking by such rogue gun dealers.
Read more about a public health approach to gun violence:
- NYAGV fact sheet: Why We Need to Take a Public Health Approach to Gun Violence
- NYAGV fact sheet: A Public Health Comparison: Motor Vehicles vs. Guns
- Gun Safety and Public Health, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Physicians Alliance