Reducing Gun Violence in the US

Guns claim more than 33,000 lives in the US every year. What can be done to reduce these deaths? Actually, a lot, says Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, in a video interview with Global Health NOW.

The evidence demonstrates that commonsense laws and community efforts such as outreach to people at highest risk for being a perpetrator or victim—as well as other strategies—could turn the tide of gun deaths, he says.

Despite the common perception that it’s politically impossible to reach consensus on laws to reduce gun violence, surveys consistently show that gun owners and Republicans support gun safety policies, says Webster in the video recorded on October 18.

The key is to focus on solving the problem. “The hopeful path forward is advancing this discussion beyond a cultural battle … to a very practical discussion,” he says. “We have guns in our society. We will always have guns in our society. There are things [that] gun owners agree we can and should do so that we have fewer gun deaths.”

 

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2 comments

Bruno
March 15, 2018

I think adressing the guilty the deaths on guns is something horrible. People kill other people... Be with bare hands, w/ a car, a rock, a wire or whatever... Guns can be used in offensive or defensive ways. .. And who is dying is also an important point...

Matt Carrell
March 10, 2020

@Bruno: So people have been killing people since time began for the human race. Sure, but why make it easier, faster and cleaner for them to do it? The fact is, gun lobbies only represent manufacturers' opinions and not those of their owners. I'm a gun owner, and I believe there are not nearly enough regulations on who and why anyone can have what type of gun (if at all). For home defense, for example, you don't need an AK-47 to endanger your entire neighborhood with a spray of semiautomatic (or easily made automatic) bullets flying everywhere. Good training = 1 shot, 1 kill, threat neutralized. If you'e a bad shot with a hand gun, perhaps a shot gun is better. You don't need rifle accuracy or distance capability to defend you home. Common logic..

All guns need to be kept locked up in a manner only the registered owner can access and use the weapon. A gun safe bolted (welded on top) down into the foundation with a biometric scanner and code to access is a perfect way to do that which still allows quick access but only for the owner's hand which knows the code. Requiring measures like this with stiff penalties for non-adherence and random once a year max safety checks by a law enforcement official to make sure guns are being strictly kept locked up safe away from kids, burglars, and others' access in this manner would prevent many tragedies.

There should never be any exemption from background checks. Gun shows (and buying online?) still have this insane exemption from the check. For what, the convenience of the vendors and buyers? Convenience is the enemy! No gun should be sold or transferred to anyone under any circumstance without a federal, state, and local police agency background check approval (which needs to include checking for not only restraining orders and prior record for violent crime convictions and armed robbery but also medical files for reasons to deny like being on anti-represents or other psyche meds for conditions of delusions or derangement), Anything less than that is a half-measure and as we've seen, half measures do not work! People simply exploit the exemption or exception to the background checks and buy at a gunshow or online.

Also, the minimum age needs to be 21. If you aren't deemed mature enough yet to handle alcohol, how can we trust you with lethal weapons? Nobody of an age potentially still in public school should have access to lethal weapons. So any 19 year old can still defend themselves with pepper mace and other less-lethal choices if they are out on their own. Waiting until 21 means people will take the privilege of gun ownership more seriously. By that age, a lot of hot-heads have cooled off a little. It will save a few lives from gun violence not to let less mature kids have access.

Gun ownership needs to be taken more seriously than driving a car and should be considered to be a privilege granted to those who are deemed capable of maturely managing such awesome responsibility as owning a firearm. It should not be automatically a "right" for just any nut case to go own one. You should have to have a department of firearms to deal with licensing and approving gun ownership. That way everyone gets an in-person examination for their first purchase or transfer of a firearm to them to first deem if they seem competent, because there are things in person that can be observed about a person that a background check won't catch like their current demeanor and state of mind. They should also have to pass some kind of written test and a usage test / safety exam to show they know how to clear a gun of ammunition, check for loaded, safely remove jams, maintain, know when safety is on or off, etc, just like proving at the DMV you know how to drive a car. This is serious stuff and needs as serious or more serious scrutiny than we give to merely driving a car. (Not to denigrate vehicle safety here, but I say "merely" because comparatively speaking, on a scale of lethal potential, a gun is usually much easier and quicker to kill a whole lot more people with little to no warning or easy possibility for potential victims to get out of harms way fast enough.). And people should have to every 4 years requalify to continue ownership of a gun just like a car. People can change. People can become unstable or incapable of safely possessing a weapon just like incapable of driving a car for a variety of reasons. The ability to safely possess, keep locked up and safely test and maintain a weapon needs to be reevaluated on a timeline just like driving a car. And if your license expires, it will be required for you to transfer ownership of the weapon permanently or temporarily (until you can fix the item that disqualifies you from ownership) to another individual or holding business that is licensed within a certain timeframe or face civil penalties like someone would driving on an expired license (seizure and or fines depending)..

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