Click to see APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, speak to CBS News about framing gun violence as a public health issue. Photo by CBS News

Click to see APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, speak to CBS News about framing gun violence as a public health issue. Photo by CBS News

Gun violence continues to burden our nation’s health more than in any other nation. In the wake of a shooting last week that claimed the lives of a journalist and cameraman — captured on live television — CBS Evening News asked the question: Should gun violence be treated as a public health issue?

APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, joined the nationally televised broadcast last week to discuss why gun violence — like car collisions or smoking — should be treated as something we can prevent.

“Seat belts, airbags and all of those things that we didn’t have before have dramatically reduced the number of automobile crashes and the human toll from that. We can do the same with firearms,” Benjamin told CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor.

Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in this country. According to The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 89 people are killed by a firearm every day in the U.S. Suicides account for the majority of them; for every homicide in the U.S., nearly two people take their own lives using a gun.

Benjamin advocated for a public health campaign centered on securing guns in the home, increased firearm safety training and more screening of the mentally ill. This would change the national conversation around guns to focus less on “gun-control politics” and more on how to reduce the death and disability that occurs with guns.

“The Second Amendment is real,” said Benjamin. “We respect it, but let’s figure out how to save lives together.”

Check out APHA’s gun violence page for news, research, fact sheets and more resources on how a public health approach can help address this growing crisis. And join APHA and the Brady Campaign for a national summit on reducing gun violence Oct. 26-28 in Washington, D.C.