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The following is a statement by NYAM President Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, on the seriousness of gun violence as a major public health issue. The statement is in response to deadly incidents of gun violence in Newtown, CT, Webster, NY, and the shooting of 15 individuals, three of whom died, during separate acts of gun violence in Chicago, IL on New Year’s Day.
Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue
As a nation, we can only improve the health of the public when we get our priorities straight.
Recent acts of gun violence in Chicago, Webster, NY, and Newtown, CT, cannot be ignored. Neither can the 31,000 Americans who die each year at the hands of a gun. This number exceeds the number of babies who die each year during their first year of life (25,000) or people who die from AIDS (9,500) or illicit drugs (17,000).
We institute protective measures enforcing speed limits and requiring the use of safety belts; we implement public health measures such as child vaccinations and regulations around the safety of food, drugs, and products. Yet guns escape this type of regulation despite their significant contribution to the mortality rate each year. We must view gun violence as a serious threat to the public’s health if we want to reduce the number of deaths associated with guns.
We can start by banning the sale of assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and other facilitators of mass murder. And we must allow government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fully exercise their duties in both surveillance of the incidence and impact of gun violence, and in educating the public on steps for preventing death and injury through the use of firearms.
The evidence is clear, and we must now take action to protect our neighbors and ourselves from this devastating public health crisis.
Posted on January 3, 2013
Andrew J. Martin
Director of Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10029
Reporters: to arrange interviews with NYAM medical and urban health experts, contact
Andrew J. Martin, Director of Communications
212-822-7285 / email@example.com
This report identifies opportunities that build on both the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) and New York’s ongoing efforts toward improving the health of its 19 million residents.
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