Can America Change?

Mourning the 59 lives lost in the Last Vegas shooting that jolted the US this week, loved ones of the ~500 injured are also left to cope with uncertainty and radically altered lives.

They are far from alone—78,000 people a year are treated in US hospitals for firearm injuries, according to a new study in Health Affairs. Mass shootings also carry a heavy clinical and financial toll: $2.8 billion a year in American hospital charges and $46 billion a year in lost work and medical care.

David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, explains in this Q&A how a public health perspective can be adopted to address gun violence. He urges the US to adopt the “same harm reduction approach to gun violence that it uses to treat other public health threats, like automobile crashes or air pollution—employing a wide variety of methods to reduce the problem.”

In the wake of the appalling mass shooting in Las Vegas, Johns Hopkins University Press is offering free downloads of Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis, edited by Daniel W. Webster and Jon S. Vernick, with a foreword by Michael R. Bloomberg.

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