There is no debate that gun violence in the United States is a significant public health problem. What is debated however, are the methods, primarily through policy changes, that will reduce injuries and deaths associated with firearms. As you have learned in this unit, before a public health policy can be developed, there must be empirical data to justify the need for policy and to measure its effectiveness.
For this discussion, you are to place yourself in an imaginary role of a public health advisor to a state legislator. After the legislator read the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) article Firearm Homicides and Suicides in Major Metropolitan Areas – United States, 2006-2007 and 2009-2010, she asked you to use the data in this article to justify the need for a state policy and to propose an effective policy to reduce the prevalence of homicides and suicides in the United States. Clickto download this article.
Use the data and information provided in the MMWR article identified above to:
- Briefly, discuss the problem with firearm homicides. (You can define this in terms of 10 – 19 age group or all ages). Please be specific by using data in your problem definition.
- Propose at least one policy strategy to solve the problem you defined. (This strategy does not have to be mentioned in the article).
- You are expected to question your classmates’ policy(s) and effectively defend challenges to your policy proposal.
Here is an example:
According to the MMWR article, August 2, 2013 / 62(30); 597-602, the 2009 “– 2010 homicide rate of 6.2 per 100,000 population among 10 “– 19 year olds in Hampton Roads Virginia (HR) is higher than rates in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area (5.1) and United States (4.9). Having an above average homicide rate for this young age group is likely diverting limited healthcare resources to response and treating victims of firearm violence that could be used to treat other child associated health conditions. Considering the high rate of military associated families living in Hampton Roads, I suspect that there are many families comfortable with firearms and, therefore, these families are likely to have guns in their homes. It is not likely that gun control policies to limit firearm purchases or possession will be supported by these constituents. Therefore, I recommend to my legislator a policy to support an amnesty period so individuals can turn in firearms with the local police in exchange for monetary vouchers to be used in local businesses. I would also recommend a policy to fund a multifaceted campaign to educate the community on gun safety and to offer free gun trigger locks to families with children.