Gun violence is a public health issue

While gun violence has always been seen as a public safety issue rather than one related to public health, members of the medical community are trying to “broaden those conversations” as discussed in a U.S News report. There was a statement made by Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director for the American Public Health Association, which basically said that there are nonpolitical ways to make people safer with their firearms.

Firearms take the lives of many people in the city of Chicago. According to a statistical analysis by the Chicago Tribune, the yearly total of shooting victims is 2,347 between January through October of this year. For some of these cases, if not many, innocent peoples’ lives are taken for the misuse or corrupted use of having a firearm.

Members of the medical community have posed several possible solutions for mitigating this issue. As the U.S News report mentioned, they “want to reduce incidents of gun violence in the same way as campaigns that targeted polio, smoking-related cancer or car accidents.” While it’s a controversial approach with Congress I believe their goals can possibly be achieved. More people attend the doctor than they do public meetings about gun violence, especially in the areas of Chicago that are greater affected.

Doctors already give their patients information about different public health issues so including information about the dangers of gun violence – not only in the sense that they’re lethal – then perhaps this issue could be mitigated. Providing additional information would not be monetarily costly. Doctors already counsel patients about a range of safety issues, including avoiding lead paint, wearing seatbelts, getting vaccinated and dealing with the dangers of backyard pools. If the designation were to change, they could more often ask patients about whether they keep a gun in the home and, if so, how it is secured (Leonard, 2015).

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http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/shootings

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/07/07/the-rise-of-gun-violence-as-a-public-health-issue

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9 thoughts on “Gun violence is a public health issue

  1. Gun violence is a touchy subject. With so much violence in Chicago, people think they should get and own a gun to protect them from the violence, when in reality, they’re indirectly adding to it. Gun violence is a huge problem in Chicago because of gangs, safety problems and even within our own judicial system. Guns are a huge health problem because of the amount of deaths year-round. I hope Chicago continues to put this problem at the top of the list because it is a main priority. Nicely written blog.

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  2. I take a hard line approach against guns and wish all handguns and most other weapons should be strictly outlawed. I don’t believe there is any reasonable need for a person to own a firearm except for basic rifles and shotguns for game hunting and those weapons should be heavily regulated and permitted. Yes, the Second Amendment can be interpreted as saying we have individual rights to carry arms, but that is a terrible idea and we have the right (and responsibility to) amend the constitution. I also have to disagree that Chicago gun deaths are caused by “the misuse or corrupted use” of a firearm. Some may have been accidental, but the majority of those were guns being used exactly as they were designed to be used: to kill.

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  3. This is an interesting and important blog because you bring up a public health issue that many people tend to overlook. I thought it was good how you brought up the point about how many times it is innocent lives that are tragically taken by the hands of gun violence, and whole families get torn apart by gun violence. I also thought that the map showing the shootings in the city since Jan 1, 2015 was very interesting and also quite saddening. It is unfortunate to know that the areas with the highest minority population and lowest incomes have the most shootings. Gun violence is definitely a threat to the public’s health everywhere, but that threat is maximized in these neighborhoods. I noticed that a large conglomeration of the shootings seem to be in the Austin/Maywood area on the west side. The general safety of the public is definitely more threatened in neighborhoods like these.

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  4. I agree that gun violence is a big problem for the city of Chicago. It’s a shame that so many fall victim, and I really realized it from a portion of your quote that read, “reduce incidents of gun violence in the same way as campaigns that targeted polio, smoking-related cancer or car accidents”. Comparing something like gun violence to different health aliments says a lot about the magnitude of the problems that we face in this city.

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  5. I think its interesting that you considered gun violence for public health concerns, because I think it in that area, it can often be overlooked. However, reducing gun violence is about much more than just informing the victim. Most victims can only do so much on their part to prevent being shot, and often times victims can unwillingly end up in crossfire, even if they aren’t themselves involved in a shooting. I think gun violence, especially in places with high population densities, is something that needs to be approached by city government and the city police. Of course, this is not any easy route to make reforms on, but community organizations can still have an impact on what laws are passed and upheld by city police.

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  6. I love that you used gun violence as a public health issue. Guns are used to provide force and injury. Yes they can be used in defense, hunting etc. but bottom line their use is to physically damage. It’s absolutely a public health issue since so many people have been injured or killed based on gun violence. Since the efforts thus far haven’t done much, I think taking it as a public health issue is our only option.

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  7. This is a dynamic way to look at the gun violence that is plaguing communities in Chicago. I think that the fact that we are changing our perspective speaks to how serious the problem is. Thankfully, I think making gun violence a health issue is the right thing to do. Gun violence doesn’t consist of only a victim and a suspect; gun violence influences everyone in the community. The bright police lights flashing at light take a toll on the youth of the community. I believe gun violence is indirectly dooming our youth. We all become victims when gun violence visits our communities.

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  8. I like how you address one of the biggest threats to our city. Other than educating the public through doctors on firearms as well as other public health issues, is there anything doctors could do to evaluate individuals to reassure they are mentally stable enough to own a firearm. I believe alternative approaches like this one can be used to combat gun-violence in a non-traditional matter. Education will help decrease the senseless injuries and death, but will not resolve this problem 100%, what else do you think can be done ?

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  9. Very interesting blog. I have never viewed gun violence to be a public health issue but your main quote about how we can “reduce incidents of gun violence in the same way as campaigns that targeted polio, smoking-related cancer or car accidents” seems to be a worthwhile approach. I believe many people who are not directly effected by the gun violence in Chicago, people who still live within the city or not, see the issue on the nightly news and then life goes on for them. Putting this issue on a different stage can only help awareness and create a better effort at reducing the amount of gun violence Chicago continues to face.

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