Note: Visit ITV News for news and video on “America’s ongoing struggle to get gun crime under control.”
As of last week, 6,823 people in the U.S. have been killed by gunfire in 2015. In England and Wales, guns killed 29 people in all of 2013.
British television program ITV News talked with APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, last week to examine the numbers and discuss why gun violence should be treated as a public health issue.
“I’ve argued that for many years,” Benjamin said. “We’re not debating the constitutionality of firearms — that exists. Firearms exist and people get hurt and die from firearms. There are ways for us in a non-political manner to make people safer with their firearms in a society.”
Gun-related deaths and violence continue to burden American health more than in any other nation. After shootings in Charleston, South Carolina in June, President Barack Obama said that “it is in our power to do something about it.”
Benjamin concurs, citing other safety advancements made possible by looking at issues from a public health lens. For example U.S. highway deaths have dropped by 25 percent in the last decade, reaching a historic low, thanks to interventions that focused on creating safer roads and vehicles — rather than merely blaming the drivers.
“This is not a debate about gun control. This is a debate about how to reduce the death and disability that occurs with guns. This is about how we keep people alive and safe with the technology that exists in our world.”
Benjamin and Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross made the case for gun violence as a public health issue in an op-ed to The Hill. Check out APHA’s gun violence page for news, studies, fact sheets, policy statements and more to find out how public health can reverse the epidemic. And join APHA and the Brady Campaign for a national summit on education, inspiration and empowerment on reducing gun violence Oct. 26-28 in Washington, D.C.