News articles and discussions relating to firearms and public health (including articles specifically about Colorado and articles that discuss CDC funding for firearms and public health research), and public health journal articles.


Peer Reviewed Public Health Articles


Listing of articles found in health, medical and research journals reviewed by an editorial board (in reverse chronological order by year and title).

US Public Opinion on Carrying Firearms in Public Places

Am J Public Health, 2017

Julia A. Wolfson, Stephen P. Teret, Deborah Azrael, and Matthew Miller

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303712

Conclusions. Most Americans, including most gun owners, support restricting public places legal gun owners can carry firearms. These views contrast sharply with the current trend in state legislatures of expanding where, how, and by whom guns can be carried in public. Recent state laws and proposed federal legislation that would force states to honor out-of-state concealed carry permits are out of step with American public opinion.”

Academic Public Health and the Firearm Crisis: An Agenda for Action

Am J Public Health, 2017

Branas CC, Flescher A, Formica MK, Galea S, Hennig N, Liller KD, Madanat HN, Park A, Rosenthal JE, Ying J

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303619

“…thanks to investments in research and vehicle and roadway design, motor vehicle deaths have declined substantially and firearm deaths now stand to surpass them. In contrast, there remains a paucity of research about ways in which to mitigate mortality and morbidity caused by firearms.”

4 Simple Reforms to Address Mass Shootings and Other Firearm Violence

JAMA, 2016  FULL TEXT

Gostin LO

DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.19497

“From a public health perspective, of course, the solution is tight regulatory control over firearms, including rigorous background checks, safety rules, and the types of firearms permitted. Here are 4 reforms to keep us safer:…Dedicate Federal Funding for Firearms Research…Require Universal Background Checks and Share Firearms Data…Ban Assault Weapons and Armor-Piercing Bullets…Regulate Firearm Safety Design…”

Adolescent gun violence prevention: what we know, and what we can do to keep young people safe

Curr Opin Pediatr., 2016  REVIEW

Dodson NA

DOI: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000372

RECENT FINDINGS: Homicide and suicide continue to be major killers of adolescents in the United States. Gun homicide kills teens in the most urban areas of the United States at the same rate as suicide kills teens in the most rural areas of the United States. Research on assault-injured youth sheds light on risk factors for teen gun homicide, and has found high rates of illegal gun carrying and retaliatory attitudes among at-risk teens. Suicide research continues to show a strong correlation between gun ownership and accessibility, and risk of completed suicide. Stand Your Ground laws and campus carry laws present unique threats to different populations of American teens.    SUMMARY: Given the enormous toll that gun violence takes on adolescent lives, pediatricians should ask about guns in the home and become involved in efforts to strengthen laws that would decrease gun violence.”

Alcohol Use and Firearm Violence

Epidemiol Rev., 2016  REVIEW  FULL TEXT

Branas CC, Han S, Wiebe DJ

DOI: 10.1093/epirev/mxv010

“The current study’s synthesis of the existing evidence base on alcohol and firearm violence has identified important gaps in knowledge for future study. Although lacking in certain aspects and in need of further contributions, the consistent and statistically significant findings within this evidence base suggest that alcohol use and firearm violence are strongly interrelated and that alcohol might be focused on as a modifiable risk factor in preventing firearm violence. A noteworthy omission in this evidence base is that no actual public health interventions in the alcohol-firearms relationship have been formally studied, and future research should focus on such interventions by using randomized controlled trials or natural experiments. In this way, policies such as rezoning off-premise alcohol outlets, proscribing blood alcohol levels and enhancing penalties for carrying or using firearms while intoxicated, and considering prior drunk driving convictions as a more precise criterion for disqualifying persons from the purchase or possession of firearms deserve further study if they are to be considered as potential interventions to reduce firearm violence.”

Firearm ownership and suicide rates among US men and women, 1981-2013

Am J Public Health, 2016

Siegel M, Rothman EF

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303182

Results: State-level firearm ownership was associated with an increase in both male and female firearm-related suicide rates and with a decrease in nonfirearm-related suicide rates. Higher gun ownership was associated with higher suicide rates by any means among male, but not among female, persons.    Conclusions: We found a strong relationship between state-level firearm ownership and firearm suicide rates among both genders, and a relationship between firearm ownership and suicides by any means among male, but not female, individuals.    Policy implications: For male persons, policies that reduce firearm ownership will likely reduce suicides by all means and by firearms. For female persons, such policies will likely reduce suicides by firearms.”

Gun access and safety practices among older adults

Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res., 2016  FULL TEXT

Lum HD, Flaten HK, Betz ME

DOI: 10.1155/2016/2980416

Conclusion: Some older adults may be at elevated risk of firearm injury because of storage practices, suicidal thoughts, or limited safety training. Future work should assess effective approaches to reduce the risk of gun-related injuries among older adults.”

Gun ownership and social gun culture

Inj Prev., 2016  FULL TEXT

Kalesan B, Villarreal MD, Keyes KM, Galea S

DOI: 10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041586

“We found that one-third of US residents are gun owners and gun ownership rates vary widely between states…. We showed that exposure to social gun culture was robustly associated with gun ownership and to our knowledge, this is the first study to establish empirical evidence of the relation between social gun culture and gun ownership…. suggesting simply that prudent gun policies that aim to reduce gun ownership and gun-related injury might need to actively consider the prevailing social gun culture in the USA.”

Public Opinion Regarding Whether Speaking With Patients About Firearms Is Appropriate: Results of a National Survey

Ann Intern Med., 2016

Betz ME, Azrael D, Barber C, Miller M

DOI: 10.7326/M16-0739

Conclusion: Two thirds of non-firearm owners and over one half of firearm owners in the United States believe that health care provider discussions about firearms are at least sometimes appropriate. The observed heterogeneity underscores the need to better understand assumptions that may underlie these views, particularly among firearm owners.”

The scientific agreement on firearm issues

Inj Prev., 2016

Hemenway D, Nolan EP

DOI: 10.1136/injuryprev-2016-042146

Introduction: No one has systematically collected the views of firearm researchers to determine if and where agreement exists on the scientific evidence about firearms and firearm violence.    Methods: We send a short monthly on-line survey to firearm researchers. Each survey asks respondents their level of agreement with a statement about firearms, their rating of the quality of the scientific evidence on the specific issue, their familiarity with that literature and their area of expertise. Survey participants are first-authors of a firearms article published in a peer-reviewed journal since 2011. For the first 15 surveys, on average, surveys were sent to 322 researchers, and 109 researchers responded (34% response rate).    Results: Among respondents, approximately 46% were public health researchers and 32% were sociologists/criminologists. Agreement exists among firearm researchers that more guns and weaker gun laws cause serious public health problems, that the costs of gun availability are typically greater than the benefits and that stronger gun laws may improve public safety and health. 84% of researchers agreed, and only 8% disagreed with the statement ‘in the United States, having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide’. For only three statements did most respondents rate the quality of the scientific evidence as strong or very strong. Overall, there was a higher level of agreement among public health/medicine researchers than among researchers in the other disciplines.”

What Do We Know About the Association Between Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Injuries?

Epidemiol Rev., 2016  REVIEW

Santaella-Tenorio J, Cerdá M, Villaveces A, Galea S

DOI: 10.1093/epirev/mxv012

“   we systematically reviewed studies exploring the associations between firearm-related laws and firearm homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries/deaths. We restricted our search to studies published from 1950 to 2014. Evidence from 130 studies in 10 countries suggests that in certain nations the simultaneous implementation of laws targeting multiple firearms restrictions is associated with reductions in firearm deaths. Laws restricting the purchase of (e.g., background checks) and access to (e.g., safer storage) firearms are also associated with lower rates of intimate partner homicides and firearm unintentional deaths in children, respectively. Limitations of studies include challenges inherent to their ecological design, their execution, and the lack of robustness of findings to model specifications. High quality research on the association between the implementation or repeal of firearm legislation (rather than the evaluation of existing laws) and firearm injuries would lead to a better understanding of what interventions are likely to work given local contexts. This information is key to move this field forward and for the development of effective policies that may counteract the burden that firearm injuries pose on populations.”

Yes, You Can: Physicians, Patients, and Firearms

Ann Intern Med., 2016  FULL TEXT

Wintemute GJ, Betz ME, Ranney ML

DOI: 10.7326/M15-2905

“The article summarizes the literature on current physician practices in asking and counseling about firearms, which are done far less commonly than recommended. Barriers to engaging in those practices, the effectiveness of clinical efforts to prevent firearm-related injuries, and what patients think about such efforts and physicians who engage in them are discussed. Proceeding from the limited available evidence, the authors make specific recommendations on how physicians might counsel their patients to reduce their risk for firearm-related death or serious injury. Finally, the authors review the circumstances under which disclosure of patient information about firearms to third parties is supported by regulations implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.”

Effects of changes in permit-to-purchase handgun laws in Connecticut and Missouri on suicide rates

Prev Med., 2015

Crifasi CK, Meyers JS, Vernick JS, Webster DW

DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.07.013

OBJECTIVE: In 2013, more than 40,000 individuals died from suicide in the United States. Restricting access to lethal means has the potential to prevent suicide, as suicidal thoughts are often transient. Permit-to-purchase (PTP) laws for handguns could potentially reduce suicides by making it more difficult for persons at risk of suicide to purchase a handgun.    METHODS: We used a quasi-experimental research design with annual, state-level suicide data to evaluate changes to PTP laws in Connecticut and Missouri. Data were analyzed for 1981-2012. We used synthetic control modeling as the primary method to estimate policy effects. This methodology provided better prediction of pre-PTP-law-change trends in the two states with PTP law changes than econometric models and is thus likely to provide more accurate estimates of policy effects.    RESULTS: The synthetic control model estimated a 15.4% reduction in firearm suicide rates associated with Connecticut’s PTP law. Missouri’s PTP law repeal was associated with a 16.1% increase in firearm suicide rates. Evidence that PTP laws were associated with non-firearm suicide rates was mixed in Connecticut and negative in Missouri.    CONCLUSION: The findings are consistent with prior research linking firearm availability to increased risk of suicide and lower suicide risks associated with PTP handgun laws.”

Firearm Ownership and Violent Crime in the U.S.: An Ecologic Study

Am J Prev Med., 2015

Monuteaux MC, Lee LK, Hemenway D, Mannix R, Fleegler EW

DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.02.008

Introduction: Although some view the ownership of firearms as a deterrent to crime, the relationship between population-level firearm ownership rates and violent criminal perpetration is unclear. The purpose of this study is to test the association between state-level firearm ownership and violent crime.    Methods: State-level rates of household firearm ownership and annual rates of criminal acts from 2001, 2002, and 2004 were analyzed in 2014. Firearm ownership rates were taken from a national survey and crime data were taken from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports. Rates of criminal behavior were estimated as a function of household gun ownership using negative binomial regression models, controlling for several demographic factors.    Results: Higher levels of firearm ownership were associated with higher levels of firearm assault and firearm robbery. There was also a significant association between firearm ownership and firearm homicide, as well as overall homicide.    Conclusions: The findings do not support the hypothesis that higher population firearm ownership rates reduce firearm-associated criminal perpetration. On the contrary, evidence shows that states with higher levels of firearm ownership have an increased risk for violent crimes perpetrated with a firearm. Public health stakeholders should consider the outcomes associated with private firearm ownership.”

Firearm prevalence and homicides of law enforcement officers in the United States

Am J Public Health, 2015  FULL TEXT

Swedler DI, Simmons MM, Dominici F, Hemenway D

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302749

Objectives: In the United States, state firearm ownership has been correlated with homicide rates. More than 90% of homicides of law enforcement officers (LEOs) are committed with firearms. We examined the relationship between state firearm ownership rates and LEO occupational homicide rates.    Conclusions: High public gun ownership is a risk for occupational mortality for LEOs in the United States. States could consider methods for reducing firearm ownership as a way to reduce occupational deaths of LEOs.”

Getting Serious About Reducing Suicide: More “How” and Less “Why”

JAMA, 2015  FULL TEXT

Swanson JW, Bonnie RJ, Appelbaum PS

DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.15566

“Gun-related suicide in the United States is an important public health issue and demands a robust, evidence-based public health response. More research is needed to inform and accelerate suicide prevention efforts. This agenda aligns with the respective missions of the NIMH and the CDC, but not with current funding priorities and allocations. Research is needed on the effects of public health interventions, policies, laws, and implementation strategies, thereby enabling (1) more effective identification of persons at risk of suicide, (2) more effective approaches to limiting their access to lethal means—firearms, in particular—during times of risk, and (3) development of ways to appropriately balance risk and rights, without further stigmatizing people with mental illnesses or inhibiting their disclosure of suicidal ideation. The NIMH and the CDC should lead the way by investing in research on the best means to do that, and Congress should allocate funding accordingly.”

Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy

Ann Epidemiol., 2015  REVIEW  FULL TEXT

Swanson JW, McGinty EE, Fazel S, Mays VM

DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.03.004

PURPOSE: This article describes epidemiologic evidence concerning risk of gun violence and suicide linked to psychiatric disorders, in contrast to media-fueled public perceptions of the dangerousness of mentally ill individuals, and evaluates effectiveness of policies and laws designed to prevent firearms injury and mortality associated with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders.    METHODS: Research concerning public attitudes toward persons with mental illness is reviewed and juxtaposed with evidence from benchmark epidemiologic and clinical studies of violence and mental illness and of the accuracy of psychiatrists’ risk assessments. Selected policies and laws designed to reduce gun violence in relation to mental illness are critically evaluated; evidence-based policy recommendations are presented.    RESULTS: Media accounts of mass shootings by disturbed individuals galvanize public attention and reinforce popular belief that mental illness often results in violence. Epidemiologic studies show that the large majority of people with serious mental illnesses are never violent. However, mental illness is strongly associated with increased risk of suicide, which accounts for over half of US firearms-related fatalities.    CONCLUSIONS: Policymaking at the interface of gun violence prevention and mental illness should be based on epidemiologic data concerning risk to improve the effectiveness, feasibility, and fairness of policy initiatives.”

Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms

Am J Public Health, 2015  REVIEW  FULL TEXT

Metzl JM, MacLeish KT

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302242

Conclusions: Our brief review suggests that connections between mental illness and gun violence are less causal and more complex than current US public opinion and legislative action allow. US gun rights advocates are fond of the phrase “guns don’t kill people, people do.” The findings cited earlier in this article suggest that neither guns nor people exist in isolation from social or historical influences. A growing body of data reveals that US gun crime happens when guns and people come together in particular, destructive ways. That is to say, gun violence in all its forms has a social context, and that context is not something that “mental illness” can describe nor that mental health practitioners can be expected to address in isolation.”

Suicide Rates and State Laws Regulating Access and Exposure to Handguns

Am J Public Health, 2015

Anestis MD, Anestis JC

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302753

OBJECTIVES: Using previous research, we examined the impact of 4 handgun laws (waiting periods, universal background checks, gun locks, and open carrying regulations) on suicide rates.    METHODS: We used publicly available databases to collect information on statewide laws, suicide rates, and demographic characteristics for 2013.    RESULTS: Each law was associated with significantly lower firearm suicide rates and the proportion of suicides resulting from firearms. In addition, each law, except for that which required a waiting period, was associated with a lower overall suicide rate. Follow-up analyses showed a significant indirect effect on overall suicide rates through the proportion of suicides by firearms, indicating that the reduced overall suicide rate was attributable to fewer suicide attempts, fewer handguns in the home, suicide attempts using less lethal means, or a combination of these factors. States that implemented any of these laws saw a decreased suicide rate in subsequent years, whereas the only state that repealed 1 of these laws saw an increased suicide rate.    CONCLUSIONS: Our results were supportive of a potentially vital role in suicide prevention for state legislation that limits access and exposure to handguns.”

The Association Between State Laws Regulating Handgun Ownership and Statewide Suicide Rates

Am J Public Health, 2015

Anestis MD, Khazem LR, Law KC, Houtsma C, LeTard R, Moberg F, Martin R

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302465

Results: Results largely indicated that states with any of these laws in place exhibited lower overall suicide rates and suicide by firearms rates and that a smaller proportion of suicides in such states resulted from firearms. Furthermore, results indicated that laws requiring registration and license had significant indirect effects through the proportion of suicides resulting from firearms. The latter results imply that such laws are associated with fewer suicide attempts overall, a tendency for those who attempt to use less-lethal means, or both. Exploratory longitudinal analyses indicated a decrease in overall suicide rates immediately following implementation of laws requiring a license to own a handgun.    Conclusions: The results are thus supportive of the potential of handgun legislation to have an impact on suicide rates.”

Firearms and suicides in US states

International Review of Law and Economics, Volume 37, March 2014, Pages 180–188

Justin Thomas Briggs and Alexander Tabarrok

DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2013.10.004

Highlights: Empirical study of firearm possession and suicides at the state-level over 2000–2009; Firearms are found to be very strongly related to firearm suicides, as expected; Firearms are also found to be strongly related to overall suicides, despite evidence for substantial substitution in method of suicide; There is evidence for a diminishing effect of guns on suicides as ownership levels increase; The results hold using instrumental variables estimation, a variety of measures of gun ownership, and across a variety of sets of controls.”

The relationship between gun ownership and stranger and nonstranger firearm homicide rates in the United States, 1981-2010

Am J Public Health, 2014  FULL TEXT

Siegel M, Negussie Y, Vanture S, Pleskunas J, Ross CS, King C 3rd

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302042

Objectives: We examined the relationship between gun ownership and stranger versus nonstranger homicide rates.    Methods: Using data from the Supplemental Homicide Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports for all 50 states for 1981 to 2010, we modeled stranger and nonstranger homicide rates as a function of state-level gun ownership, measured by a proxy, controlling for potential confounders. We used a negative binomial regression model with fixed effects for year, accounting for clustering of observations among states by using generalized estimating equations.    Results: We found no robust, statistically significant correlation between gun ownership and stranger firearm homicide rates. However, we found a positive and significant association between gun ownership and nonstranger firearm homicide rates. The incidence rate ratio for nonstranger firearm homicide rate associated with gun ownership was 1.014 (95% confidence interval = 1.009, 1.019).    Conclusions: Our findings challenge the argument that gun ownership deters violent crime, in particular, homicides.”

Ending the silence on gun violence

Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2013 FULL TEXT

Brent DA, Miller MJ, Loeber R, Mulvey EP, Birmaher B

DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.01.006

“We summarize our recommendations as follows: we advocate for effective legislation that will bring our country’s firearm death toll more in line with the rest of the developed world, such as universal background checks for all firearm purchases and a ban on the sale of assault weapons and other firearms with high-capacity magazines. Such programs have been shown to dramatically decrease the incidence of mass shootings and appear to accelerate an overall downward trend in firearms deaths. We insist that there should be no interference on best practice for primary care and child psychiatry, which requires respectful inquiry into the availability and safe storage of firearms in the home to protect children and adolescents who are those most vulnerable to the risks that firearms may pose. We support investment in better mental health care, recognizing that a decrease in youth violence is best achieved through long-term commitments to early intervention aimed at the decrease of juvenile aggression and nonlethal violence, rather than a sole emphasis on short term screening to identify potentially violent individuals. We urge Congress to lift the ongoing restrictions uniquely constraining research on one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in childhood, including research on gun safety and storage, that may lead to a society where we can more effectively shield children from the lethal consequences of random acts of mayhem.”

The relationship between gun ownership and firearm homicide rates in the United States, 1981-2010

Am J Public Health, 2013  FULL TEXT

Siegel M, Ross CS, King C 3rd

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301409

Objectives: We examined the relationship between levels of household firearm ownership, as measured directly and by a proxy—the percentage of suicides committed with a firearm—and age-adjusted firearm homicide rates at the state level.    Methods: We conducted a negative binomial regression analysis of panel data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting Systems database on gun ownership and firearm homicide rates across all 50 states during 1981 to 2010. We determined fixed effects for year, accounted for clustering within states with generalized estimating equations, and controlled for potential state-level confounders.    Results: Gun ownership was a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates (incidence rate ratio = 1.009; 95% confidence interval = 1.004, 1.014). This model indicated that for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.    Conclusions: We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.”

The Colorado Violent Death Reporting System (COVDRS): Validity and Utility of the Veteran Status Variable

Public Health Rep., 2012  FULL TEXT

Bahraini NH, Gutierrez PM, Harwood JE, Huggins JA, Hedegaard H, Chase M, Brenner LA

DOI: 10.1177/003335491212700310

OBJECTIVE: Using the Veterans Affairs Beneficiary Identification Record Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) as the criterion database, we evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the death certificate information in the Colorado Violent Death Reporting System (COVDRS) to determine Veteran status for those who died by suicide.    CONCLUSIONS: This study of 3,820 suicide deaths in Colorado demonstrated a high level of agreement between the COVDRS Veteran status variable and the BIRLS. Such findings offer support for using the COVDRS in studying factors associated with suicide in the Veteran population.”

Homicide, suicide, and unintentional firearm fatality: comparing the United States with other high-income countries, 2003

J Trauma, 2011

Richardson EG, Hemenway D

DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181dbaddf

RESULTS: The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher. For 15-year olds to 24-year olds, firearm homicide rates in the United States were 42.7 times higher than in the other countries. For US males, firearm homicide rates were 22.0 times higher, and for US females, firearm homicide rates were 11.4 times higher. The US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher than in the other countries, though overall suicide rates were 30% lower. The US unintentional firearm deaths were 5.2 times higher than in the other countries. Among these 23 countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86% of women killed by firearms were US women, and 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.    CONCLUSIONS: The United States has far higher rates of firearm deaths-firearm homicides, firearm suicides, and unintentional firearm deaths compared with other high-income countries. The US overall suicide rate is not out of line with these countries, but the United States is an outlier in terms of our overall homicide rate.”

Guns and Suicide in the United States

N Engl J Med, 2008  FULL TEXT

Matthew Miller, M.D., Sc.D., and David Hemenway, Ph.D.

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp0805923

“This past June (2008), in a 5-to-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court struck down a ban on handgun ownership in the nation’s capital and ruled that the District’s law requiring all firearms in the home to be locked violated the Second Amendment to the Constitution. But the Supreme Court’s finding of a Second Amendment right to have a handgun in the home does not mean that it is a wise decision to own a gun or to keep it easily accessible. Deciding whether to own a gun entails balancing potential benefits and risks. One of the risks for which the empirical evidence is strongest, and the risk whose death toll is greatest, is that of completed suicide.   Physicians and other health care providers who care for suicidal patients should be able to assess whether people at risk for suicide have access to a firearm or other lethal means and to work with patients and their families to limit access to those means until suicidal feelings have passed. A Web site of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center can help physicians and others in this effort (www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter). Effective suicide prevention should focus not only on a patient’s psychological condition but also on the availability of lethal means—which can make the difference between life and death.”

Household firearm ownership and rates of suicide across the 50 United States

J Trauma, 2007

Miller M, Lippmann SJ, Azrael D, Hemenway D

DOI: 10.1097/01.ta.0000198214.24056.40

RESULTS: US residents of all ages and both sexes are more likely to die from suicide when they live in areas where more households contain firearms. A positive and significant association exists between levels of household firearm ownership and rates of firearm and overall suicide; rates of nonfirearm suicide were not associated with levels of household firearm ownership.    CONCLUSION: Household firearm ownership levels are strongly associated with higher rates of suicide, consistent with the hypothesis that the availability of lethal means increases the rate of completed suicide.”

Parental misperceptions about children and firearms

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med., 2006  FULL TEXT

Baxley F, Miller M

DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.160.5.542

CONCLUSIONS: Many parents who were living in homes with firearms and who reported that their children had never handled firearms in their homes were contradicted by their children’s self-reports. Parents who locked their guns away and discussed gun safety with their children were as likely to be contradicted as parents who did not take such safety measures.”

The association between changes in household firearm ownership and rates of suicide in the United States, 1981-2002

Inj Prev., 2006

Miller M, Azrael D, Hepburn L, Hemenway D, Lippmann SJ

DOI: 10.1136/ip.2005.010850

Objective: To explore whether recent declines in household firearm prevalence in the United States were associated with changes in rates of suicide for men, women, and children.    Methods: This time series study compares changes in suicide rates to changes in household firearm prevalence, 1981–2002. Multivariate analyses adjust for age, unemployment, per capita alcohol consumption, and poverty. Regional fixed effects controlled for cross sectional, time invariant differences among the four census regions. Standard errors of parameter estimates are adjusted to account for serial autocorrelation of observations over time.    Results: Over the 22 year study period household firearm ownership rates declined across all four regions. In multivariate analyses, each 10% decline in household firearm ownership was associated with significant declines in rates of firearm suicide, 4.2% (95% CI 2.3% to 6.1%) and overall suicide, 2.5% (95% CI 1.4% to 3.6%). Changes in non-firearm suicide were not associated with changes in firearm ownership. The magnitude of the association between changes in household firearm ownership and changes in rates of firearm and overall suicide was greatest for children: for each 10% decline in the percentage of households with firearms and children, the rate of firearm suicide among children 0–19 years of age dropped 8.3% (95% CI 6.1% to 10.5%) and the rate of overall suicide dropped 4.1% (2.3% to 5.9%).    Conclusion: Changes in household firearm ownership over time are associated with significant changes in rates of suicide for men, women, and children. These findings suggest that reducing availability to firearms in the home may save lives, especially among youth.”

Effectiveness of gun-safety counseling and a gun lock giveaway in a Hispanic community

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med., 2005  FULL TEXT

Carbone PS, Clemens CJ, Ball TM

DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.159.11.1049

CONCLUSIONS: A brief gun-safety counseling session supported with written information along with a gun lock giveaway resulted in significant improvements in safe gun storage behaviors. It did not significantly influence the removal of guns from the home. This study gives support to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Elk Grove Village, Ill) and other professional organizations to discuss gun safety with families and encourages research in this area. It also suggests that providing tools such as gun locks to enable the desired behavior may improve safe storage.”

Evaluation of a community-based handgun safe-storage campaign

Pediatrics, 2005  FULL TEXT

Sidman EA, Grossman DC, Koepsell TD, D’Ambrosio L, Britt J, Simpson ES, Rivara FP, Bergman AB

DOI: 10.1542/peds.2004-1625

RESULTS: Overall, handguns and long guns were generally more likely to be stored locked and less likely to be loaded in 2001 compared with 1996, with these trends seeming to be more consistent in the intervention county. Even so, more than one quarter of households with children and handguns in 2001 failed to store all of their handguns with a formal locking device, and up to 8% continued to possess at least 1 loaded handgun that was not stored with a formal device. The majority of households that stored their handguns with formal devices used lock boxes or gun safes. Storage of handguns in lock boxes or gun safes became more common in both the intervention…. None of the other measured changes reached statistical significance, such as storing any household handgun loaded…or keeping any household handgun loaded and not stored in a lock box or gun safe…. Moreover, the intervention county did not experience significantly greater overall improvements in household storage practices for handguns or long guns than did control counties.    CONCLUSIONS: In both the intervention and control counties, households were more likely to lock all handguns in 2001 compared with 1996. After accounting for temporal trends, this educational campaign, combined with economic incentives to purchase lock boxes, did not seem to significantly change safe storage practices in households with handguns and children. Even if the campaign did result in small improvements in firearm safe storage, simultaneous national and state-specific gun-safety activities or legislative efforts may have drawn increasing attention to gun-related issues in the control counties, thereby making it more difficult to identify effects of our specific handgun storage intervention.”

Gun storage practices and risk of youth suicide and unintentional firearm injuries

JAMA, 2005  FULL TEXT

Grossman DC, Mueller BA, Riedy C, Dowd MD, Villaveces A, Prodzinski J, Nakagawara J, Howard J, Thiersch N, Harruff R

DOI: 10.1001/jama.293.6.707

Objective: To measure the association of specific household firearm storage practices (locking guns, locking ammunition, keeping guns unloaded) and the risk of unintentional and self-inflicted firearm injuries.    Main Exposure Measures: The key exposures of interest in this study were: (1) whether the subject firearm was stored in a locked location or with an extrinsic lock; (2) whether the firearm was stored unloaded; (3) whether the firearm was stored both unloaded in a locked location; (4) whether the ammunition for the firearm was stored separately; and (5) whether the ammunition was stored in a locked location. Data regarding the storage status of case and control guns were collected by interview with respondents from the households of case and control firearms.    Results: We interviewed 106 respondents with case firearms and 480 with control firearms. Of the shootings associated with the case firearms, 81 were suicide attempts (95% fatal) and 25 were unintentional injuries (52% fatal). After adjustment for potentially confounding variables, guns from case households were less likely to be stored unloaded than control guns (odds ratio [OR], 0.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16-0.56). Similarly, case guns were less likely to be stored locked (OR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.17-0.45), stored separately from ammunition (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.34-0.93), or to have ammunition that was locked (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.23-0.66) than were control guns. These findings were consistent for both handguns and long guns and were also similar for both suicide attempts and unintentional injuries.    Conclusions: The 4 practices of keeping a gun locked, unloaded, storing ammunition locked, and in a separate location are each associated with a protective effect and suggest a feasible strategy to reduce these types of injuries in homes with children and teenagers where guns are stored.”

Association between youth-focused firearm laws and youth suicides

JAMA, 2004  FULL TEXT

Webster DW, Vernick JS, Zeoli AM, Manganello JA

DOI: 10.1001/jama.292.5.594

RESULTS: There were 63 954 suicides among youth aged 14 through 20 years during the 1976-2001 study period, 39 655 (62%) of which were committed with firearms. Minimum purchase-age and possession-age laws were not associated with statistically significant reductions in suicide rates among youth aged 14 through 20 years. State CAP laws were associated with an 8.3% decrease (rate ratio [RR], 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86-0.98) in suicide rates among 14- to 17-year-olds. The annual rate of suicide in this age group in states with CAP laws was 5.97 per 100 000 population rather than the projected 6.51. This association was also statistically significant for firearm suicides (RR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.83-0.96) but not for nonfirearm suicides (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.91-1.10). CAP laws were also associated with a significant reduction in suicides among youth aged 18 through 20 years (RR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.85-0.93); however, the association was similar for firearm suicides (RR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.82-0.92) and nonfirearm suicides (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85-0.98).    CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence that CAP laws are associated with a modest reduction in suicide rates among youth aged 14 to 17 years. As currently implemented, minimum age restrictions for the purchase and possession of firearms do not appear to reduce overall rates of suicide among youth.”

Firearm ownership and storage practices, U.S. households, 1992-2002. A systematic review

Am J Prev Med., 2004  REVIEW

Johnson RM, Coyne-Beasley T, Runyan CW

DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2004.04.015

Results: Although all were cross-sectional, the 42 articles included in this review varied in type; there were seven national and five state prevalence studies, as well as studies using clinic-based convenience samples (n =14) and samples of professionals (n =10). Published studies indicate that firearms are present in about one third of U.S. households. Handguns in particular are present in more than half of U.S. households with firearms, or about 19% of all U.S. households. The prevalence of firearms and handguns in households with young people was similar to the prevalence overall. Firearm ownership was highest in the South.     Conclusions: Although the methodologic rigor of published articles varies substantially, the literature clearly establishes that firearms are common in U.S. households, even in the homes of medical professionals and those with children.”

Safer storage of firearms at home and risk of suicide: a study of protective factors in a nationally representative sample

J Epidemiol Community Health, 2004  REVIEW  FULL TEXT

Shenassa ED, Rogers ML, Spalding KL, Roberts MB

DOI: 10.1136/jech.2003.017343

Objective: To estimate the protective effect of storing firearms locked or unloaded, or both, on the risk of suicide by firearms among people with relatively low intention to die.    Design and setting: Cross sectional survey. The 1993 National Mortality Followback Survey of 22 957 deaths in the United States, representing 2.2 million people, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.    Participants: Decedent’s next of kin answered questions regarding various aspects of decedent’s life to supplement information from death certificates.    Main results: Compared with decedents who stored their firearm unlocked or loaded, those who stored their firearms locked or unloaded, or both, were less likely to commit suicide by firearms (locked: OR = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.24 to 0.66; unloaded OR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.18 to 0.49).    Conclusions: This study further supports the utility of devices and practices intended to reduce the likelihood of unauthorized or impulsive use of firearms.”

Weapons in the Lives of Battered Women

Am J Public Health, 2004  FULL TEXT

Sorenson SB, Wiebe DJ

Objectives: We assessed weapon use in intimate partner violence and perspectives on hypothetical firearm policies.    Methods: We conducted structured in-person interviews with 417 women in 67 battered women’s shelters.    Results: Words, hands/fists, and feet were the most common weapons used against and by battered women. About one third of the battered women had a firearm in the home. In two thirds of these households, the intimate partner used the gun(s) against the woman, usually threatening to shoot/kill her (71.4%) or to shoot at her (5.1%). Most battered women thought spousal notification/consultation regarding gun purchase would be useful and that a personalized firearm (“smart gun”) in the home would make things worse.    Conclusions: A wide range of objects are used as weapons against intimate partners. Firearms, especially handguns, are more common in the homes of battered women than in households in the general population.”

Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study

Am J Public Health, 2003  FULL TEXT

Campbell JC, Webster DW, Koziol-McLain J, Block C, Campbell D, Curry MA, Gary F, Glass N, McFarlane JM, Sachs C, Sharps P, Ulrich Y, Wilt SA, Manganello J, Xu X, Schollenberger J, Frye V, Laughon K

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.93.7.1089

Results: Preincident risk factors associated in multivariate analyses with increased risk of intimate partner femicide included perpetrator’s access to a gun and previous threat with a weapon, perpetrator’s stepchild in the home, and estrangement, especially from a controlling partner. Never living together and prior domestic violence arrest were associated with lowered risks. Significant incident factors included the victim having left for another partner and the perpetrator’s use of a gun. Other significant bivariate-level risks included stalking, forced sex, and abuse during pregnancy.    Conclusions: There are identifiable risk factors for intimate partner femicides.”

“They’re too smart for that”: predicting what children would do in the presence of guns

Pediatrics, 2003  FULL TEXT

Connor SM, Wesolowski KL

“CONCLUSION: Results indicate that parental beliefs may effectively relieve adults of responsibility and place the burden on children to protect themselves. The implication for injury prevention is that caregivers’ unrealistic expectations of children’s developmental levels and impulse control may influence storage decisions or the inclination to address gun safety issues with children or other adults with whom children spend time (relatives, playmates’ parents).”

Household firearm ownership and suicide rates in the United States

Epidemiology, 2002  FULL TEXT

Miller M, Azrael D, Hemenway D

DOI: 10.1097/01.EDE.0000023967.88203.AE

BACKGROUND: In the United States, more people kill themselves with firearms than with all other methods combined. A central question regarding the relation between firearms and suicide is whether the ready availability of firearms increases the suicide rate, rather than merely increasing the proportion of suicides from guns.    METHODS: We used publicly available data for the nine regions and 50 states in the United States over a 10-year period (1988-1997) to examine the association between levels of household firearm ownership and rates of suicide, firearm suicide, and non-firearm suicide by age groups and gender.    RESULTS: In both regional and state-level analyses, for the U.S. population as a whole, for both males and females, and for virtually every age group, a robust association exists between levels of household firearm ownership and suicide rates.    CONCLUSIONS: Where firearm ownership levels are higher, a disproportionately large number of people die from suicide

Teaching firearm safety to children: failure of a program

J Dev Behav Pediatr., 2002

Hardy MS

“The results of the current study cast doubt on the potential effectiveness of skills-based gun safety programs for children.”

Firearm storage patterns in US homes with children

Am J Public Health, 2000  FULL TEXT

Schuster MA, Franke TM, Bastian AM, Sor S, Halfon N

RESULTS: Respondents from 35% of the homes with children younger than 18 years (representing more than 22 million children in more than 11 million homes) reported having at least 1 firearm. Among homes with children and firearms, 43% had at least 1 unlocked firearm (i.e., not in a locked place and not locked with a trigger lock or other locking mechanism). Overall, 9% kept firearms unlocked and loaded, and 4% kept them unlocked, unloaded, and stored with ammunition; thus, a total of 13% of the homes with children and firearms–1.4 million homes with 2.6 million children–stored firearms in a manner most accessible to children. In contrast, 39% of these families kept firearms locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.    CONCLUSIONS: Many children live in homes with firearms that are stored in an accessible manner. Efforts to prevent children’s access to firearms are needed.”

Firearm-related deaths in the United States and 35 other high- and upper-middle-income countries

Int J Epidemiol., 1998  FULL TEXT

Krug EG, Powell KE, Dahlberg LL

DOI: 10.1093/ije/27.2.214

Background: The Forty-Ninth World Health Assembly recently declared violence a worldwide public health problem. Improved understand of cross-national differences is useful for identifying risk factors and may facilitate prevention efforts. Few cross-national studies, however, have explored firearm-related deaths. We compared the incidence of firearm-related deaths among 36 countries.    Methods: Health officials in high-income (HI) and upper-middle-income countries (UMI) with populations greater than one million were asked to provide data using ICD-9 codes on firearm-related homicides, suicides, unintentional deaths and deaths of undetermined intent, as well as homicides and suicides for all methods combined. Thirty-six (78%) of the 46 countries provided complete data. We compared age-adjusted rates per 100 000 for each country and pooled rates by income group and geographical location.    Results: During the one-year study period, 88 649 firearm deaths were reported. Overall firearm mortality rates are five to six times higher in HI and UMI countries in the Americas (12.72) than in Europe (2.17), or Oceania (2.57) and 95 times higher than in Asia (0.13). The rate of firearm deaths in the United States (14.24 per 100 000) exceeds that of its economic counterparts (1.76) eightfold and that of UMI countries (9.69) by a factor of 1.5. Suicide and homicide contribute equally to total firearm deaths in the US, but most firearm deaths are suicides (71%) in HI countries and homicides (72%) in UMI countries.  Conclusions: Firearm death rates vary markedly throughout the industrialized world. Further research to identify risk factors associated with these variations may help improve prevention efforts.”

Firearm injuries in children and adolescents: epidemiology and preventive approaches

Curr Opin Pediatr., 1994  REVIEW

Christoffel KK, Naureckas SM

“Firearm injury, now a leading cause of death in childhood and adolescence, had joined the ranks of pediatric conditions that threaten child health and development. This paper reviews articles on epidemiology (of firearm injuries and the firearms themselves) and prevention.”

Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home

N Engl J Med, 1993  FULL TEXT

Arthur L. Kellermann, Frederick P. Rivara, Norman B. Rushforth, Joyce G. Banton, Donald T. Reay, Jerry T. Francisco, Ana B. Locci, Janice Prodzinski, Bela B. Hackman, and Grant Somes

DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199310073291506

CONCLUSIONS: The use of illicit drugs and a history of physical fights in the home are important risk factors for homicide in the home. Rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.”


News, Opinion and Op-ed Pieces


Articles are listed in reverse chronological order by publication date. General articles are listed at the beginning, and articles specifically about Colorado and articles that discuss funding for firearms and public health research are listed in separate sections at the end.

American Public Health Association: Gun violence (webpage)

This link goes to the American Public Health Association Gun Violence webpage.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Gun violence is a public health issue; Boston Public Radio, Morning Edition: Without federal action on guns, what’s left is a patchwork of laws; Boston Public Radio: Research shows guns don’t work for self-defense; NPR, Science Friday: What we do (and mostly don’t) know about guns

This article and series of interviews from June 2016, with David Hemenway, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, address firearms safety and use of firearms for self-defense. See additional information at the website for the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

Kids Health: About Teen Suicide

This online article from KidsHealth.org states that, “The risk of suicide increases dramatically when kids and teens have access to firearms at home, and nearly 60% of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun. That’s why any gun in your home should be unloaded, locked, and kept out of the reach of children and teens.”

Psychology Today: Articles about suicide

Links to several articles published in Psychology Today under the headings “Triggers and Risks,” “Prevention” and “Coping with a Loved One’s Suicide.”

CNN Money: How President Trump is bad for the gun industry

On February 3, 2017, CNN Money ran this story about how the sales of firearms and ammunition are falling, as are many stocks of firearms manufacturers. Also, “Background checks, which are conducted by the FBI for most gun purchases, dropped by 20% in January compared with a year earlier.” They quote Robert Spitzer, a political science professor at the State University of New York, as saying that because of the election of President Trump, “there is no political incentive to buy guns, and, as a consequence, we’ve seen a drop in gun sales,”… gun sales will be flat” going forward, as the manufacturers and retailers are now “a victim of their success.” (by Aaron Smith)

Washington Post: Rule on guns and mentally ill people faces a GOP rollback

On February 3, 2017, The Washington Post published this article that discusses the House vote to roll back a rule of the Social Security Administration to provide information to the background check system about recipients who, because of a mental impairment, cannot handle their own benefit checks. (by Lisa Marie Pane | AP)

Washington Legislative Office: ACLU Position Statement on H.J. Res. 40 (Social Security Administration National Instant Criminal Background Check System Final Rule) (pdf file)

On February 1, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union released this position statement to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Resolution of Disapproval, H. J. Res. 40 (Social Security Administration NICS Final Rule). They state that, “In December 2016, the SSA promulgated a final rule that would require the names of all Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit recipients–who, because of a mental impairment, use a representative payee to help manage their benefits–be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used during gun purchases. We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with mental disabilities, a vast and diverse group of citizens, are violent. There is no data to support a connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence.”

New York Times: How to Prevent Gun Deaths? Where Experts and the Public Agree

On January 10, 2017, The New York times published this piece on the agreement in how the public and experts think laws might help prevent gun deaths. A study of these levels of agreement suggest which policies are likely to be most effective in the eyes of both experts and the public. (by Quoctrung Bui and Margot Sanger-Katz)  A possible guide for action?

AMA Wire: Gun violence: Use public health approach in the exam room

On January 9, 2017, the American Medical Association released this article about the need for frank patient-physician conversations about firearms safety. (by Troy Parks)

NPR: Gun Violence Should Be Treated As A Public Health Crisis, Study Says

On January 3, 2017, National Public Radio ran this story about how the funding for research on gun violence lags far behind other leading causes of death, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (citation below). (by Laura Wagner)    Research article citation: Stark DE, Shah NH. Funding and Publication of Research on Gun Violence and Other Leading Causes of Death. JAMA. 2017;317(1):84-85. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16215

NPR: Researchers Link Gun Violence To Public Health In Chicago Study

On January 3, 2017, National Public Radio ran this story that researchers studying gun violence in Chicago explain how gun violence can spread like an infectious disease. (by Cheryl Corley)

New York Times: Gun Control Advocates Find a Deep-Pocketed Ally in Big Law

On December 7, 2016, The New York Times published this article about the growing coalition between corporate law firms and gun control advocates. (by Jessica Silber-Greenberg and Ben Protess)

New York Times: Young Adolescents as Likely to Die From Suicide as From Traffic Accidents

On November 3, 2016, The New York Times published this article about the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that in 2014, the most recent year for which data were available, the suicide rate for children ages 10 to 14 had caught up to their death rate for traffic accidents. (by Sabrina Tavernise)

Washington Post: To reduce suicides, look at guns

On July 13, 2016, The Washington Post published this information- and illustration-rich article that analyzes the relationships between the availability of firearms in the U.S. and suicide rates. Their main finding is that the suicide rate would likely decline if firearms weren’t used so by Americans to take their own lives. (by Kim Soffen)

Washington Post: The math behind our suicide and guns calculations

This article is a detailed discussion of the methodology used to determine relationships and illustrations presented in the main article listed above.

New Yorker: Making a Killing, the business and politics of selling guns

On June 27, 2016, The New Yorker published this article that provides an historical perspective about ownership of firearms in the U.S. and the influence of the firearms industry. The article states that, “In recent years, in response to three kinds of events—mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and talk of additional gun control—gun sales have broken records.” (by Evan Osnos)

Washington Post: Has your U.S. Congress person received donations from the NRA?

On June 21, 2016, The Washington Post provided an interactive graphic that allows constituents to determine how much money has been donated to their members of Congress by the National Rifle Association. (by Aaron Williams)

NPR: Gun violence ‘A Public Health Crisis,’ American Medical Association says

On June 14, 2016, National Public Radio ran this story about the American Medical Association’s announcement that it has adopted a policy calling gun violence in the U.S. “a public health crisis,” and that it will actively lobby Congress to overturn 20-year-old legislation blocking research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (by Richard Gonzales)

AMA: AMA Calls Gun Violence “A Public Health Crisis”

On June 14, 2016, the American Medical Association released this press release stating that, “…the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted policy calling gun violence in the United States “a public health crisis” requiring a comprehensive public health response and solution. Additionally, at the Annual Meeting of its House of Delegates, the AMA resolved to actively lobby Congress to overturn legislation that for 20 years has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence.”

Forbes: It’s Not Against The Law For Doctors To Ask Patients About Guns, A New Report Concludes

On May 17, 2016, Forbes published this article that discusses a research article, which says that no laws prohibit doctors from asking patients whether they have firearms in their home or from telling law enforcement about the firearms if they’re concerned about the possibility of violence. (by Rita Rubin)    Research article citation: Wintemute GJ, Betz ME, Ranney ML. Yes, You Can: Physicians, Patients, and Firearms. Ann Intern Med. 2016;165:205-213. doi: 10.7326/M15-2905.

CDC: Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999–2014

In April 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics released this Data Brief (NCHS data brief, no. 241, April 2016). A couple of the key findings include, “From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006. The most frequent suicide method in 2014 for males involved the use of firearms (55.4%), while poisoning was the most frequent method for females (34.1%).” (by Sally C. Curtin, M.A., Margaret Warner, Ph.D., and Holly Hedegaard, M.D., M.S.P.H.)

NBC News: Gun Control Is a Public Health Issue, Experts Say

On January 5, 2016, NBC News ran this story about public health experts’ support of President Barack Obama’s plan that says that firearm safety is clearly a public health issue and urges Congress to embrace science in the fight for gun-law reform. (by Maggie Fox)

The White House: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer

On January 4, 2016, The White House released this Fact Sheet to announce new executive orders to Reduce Gun Violence.

Modern Healthcare: Tackle gun violence like other public health problems

On December 5, 2015, Modern Healthcare published this editorial about the proliferation of firearms in our society being one of the nation’s leading threats to public health. (by Merrill Goozner)

The Trace: A Psychiatrist Debunks the Biggest Myths Surrounding Gun Suicides

On November 2, 2015, The Trace published this conversation with Liza Gold, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. The article introduction states, “Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Americans aged 15 to 34, and more than 50 percent of cases involve guns. A big reason for the prevalence of firearms in suicides is the deadliness of guns themselves: When a firearm is used in a suicide attempt, there’s an 85 percent chance of it being successful.” (by Kate Masters)

New York Times: The Concealed-Carry Fantasy

On October 26, 2015, The New York Times published this editorial that examines the implications of concealed-carry rhetoric and states, “[concealed carry] compounds the risks to innocent lives, particularly as state legislatures, bowing to the gun lobby, invite more citizens to venture out naïvely with firearms in more and more public places, including restaurants, churches and schools.”

Pew Research Center: Gun homicides steady after decline in ’90s; suicide rate edges up

On October 21, 2015, the Pew Research Center, Fact Tank, published this article that discusses the overall gun violence trends in the U.S. and states, “Between 1993 and 2000, the gun homicide rate dropped by nearly half, from 7.0 homicides to 3.8 homicides per 100,000 people. Since then, the gun homicide rate has remained relatively flat. From 2009 to 2014, the most recent year data are available, the number of gun homicides has hovered around 11,000 and 12,000 per year. By contrast, a significantly higher – and growing – number of gun deaths were by suicide than by homicide, and this has been true throughout the past two decades. For example, while the gun suicide rate has declined overall since 1993, in recent years it has risen, from 6.3 per 100,000 people in 2010 to 6.7 in 2014.” (by Jens Manuel Krogstad)

New York Times: Gun Deaths Are Mostly Suicides

On October 8, 2015, The New York Times published this article that states that, “More than 60 percent of people in this country who die from guns die by suicide…. public health researchers cite two reasons guns are particularly dangerous: 1) Guns are more lethal than most other methods people try, so someone who attempts suicide another way is more likely to survive; 2) Studies suggest that suicide attempts often occur shortly after people decide to kill themselves, so people with deadly means at hand when the impulse strikes are more likely to use them than those who have to wait or plan.” (by Margot Sanger-Katz)

The Washington Post: There are now more guns than people in the United States

On October 5, 2015, The Washington Post published this article that discusses the controversy between number of firearms in the U.S. and decreasing per-capita firearm homicide rates. (by Christopher Ingraham)

Newsweek: America’s Biggest Gun Problem Is Suicide

On September 21, 2015, Newsweek published this article about suicide and firearms in the U.S. that discusses several research studies. The article states that, “The five deadliest U.S. mass shootings of the 21st century—Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, Binghamton and the Washington Navy Yard—resulted in 101 deaths combined. In 2012 (the most recent year for which there is solid data), 32,288 people died from gunshot wounds in the United States. According to research published this year in the Annual Review of Public Health, suicides accounted for 64 percent of those deaths. We may have cut down murders in this country over the past two decades, but gun violence has not abated so much as it has evolved into a more insidious form.” (by Mike Mariani)

ABC News: Kids Have Fatal Attraction to Guns

On August 9, ABC News ran this story about the attraction that children have for firearms even when they’ve been told about the potential dangers of firearms.

U.S. News: Should Gun Violence Be Treated Like Car Accidents?

On July 7, 2015, U.S. News published this article about the toll that gun violence takes on public health. (by Kimberly Leonard)

National Physicians Alliance: Doctors and Lawyers Recommend Public Health Policies for a More Secure America

On September 25, 2013, The National Physicians Alliance and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence posted an announcement about their collaboration to produce a report identifying evidence-based prevention methods to curb gun violence. “Gun Safety & Public Health: Policy Recommendations for a More Secure America provides the medical community and the public with in-depth research and legal analysis. The report highlights substantive public health research demonstrating that there is far more that can be done to protect our patients and communities.” To download the 20-page report (pdf file), CLICK HERE.

New York Times: Party Identity in a Gun Cabinet

On December 18, 2012, The New York Times published this article that discusses the ties between firearm ownership and voting behavior.  It states that, “Whether someone owns a gun is a more powerful predictor of a person’s political party than her gender, whether she identifies as gay or lesbian, whether she is Hispanic, whether she lives in the South or a number of other demographic characteristics.” (by Nate Silver)

Congressional Research Service: Gun Control Legislation (pdf file)

On November 14, 2012, the Congressional Research Service released this report that addresses firearm control legislations. The report includes, “… discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past or current congressional interest. Those issues include (1) screening firearms background check applicants against terrorist watch lists, (2) combating gun trafficking and straw purchases, (3) reforming the regulation of federally licensed gun dealers, (4) requiring background checks for private firearms transfers at gun shows, (5) more-strictly regulating certain firearms previously defined in statute as “semiautomatic assault weapons,” and (6) banning or requiring the registration of certain long-range .50 caliber rifles, which are commonly referred to as “sniper” rifles. To set these and other emerging issues in context, this report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th and 112th Congresses.” The report states that, “By … 2009, the estimated total number of firearms available to civilians in the United States had increased to approximately 310 million: 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns.” (by William J. Krouse)

 


STORIES ABOUT COLORADO


KOAA News: Cyberbullying leads to Pueblo teen’s suicide

On January 27, 2017, KOAA News ran this story about cyberbullying and a teen suicide in Pueblo. (by Laura Wilson)

Colorado Public Radio: Student Filmmakers Reflect On High Rate of Teen Suicide in El Paso County

On January 25, 2017, Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Matters, broadcast this story about the teen suicide rates in El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, which have more than doubled in the last three years. Colorado has one of the highest teen suicide rates in the country. (by Andrea Dukakis)

Coloradoan: Teen suicides sting Northern Colorado communities

On December 28, 2016, the Coloradoan (Northern Colorado) published this article about teen suicides in northern Colorado. (by Jacy Marmaduke)

Denver Post: Colorado Springs teen suicides highlight gap in mental health services

On October 25, 2016, The Denver Post published this article about a teen suicide cluster in Colorado Springs. (by Megan Schrader)

Pueblo Chieftain: Colorado Gun Shop Project to be offered here; effort aims to reduce suicide

On October 21, 2016, the Pueblo Chieftain published this article about the Colorado Gun Shop Project, a program that aims to decrease the number of firearm suicides. (by Sarah Grasmick)

Newsweek: Teen Suicide is Contagious, and the Problem May Be Worse Than We Thought

On October 19, 2016, Newsweek published this article about a teen suicide cluster in the Colorado Springs area. (by Terry A. Ratzlaff)

NPR: Colorado Gun Shops Work Together To Prevent Suicides

On September 2, 2016, National Public Radio ran this story about the collaboration between gun shops and public health to help prevent suicide in Colorado. Jarrod Hindman, director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in Colorado, is helping to facilitate this process. (by John Daley)    Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, Gun Safety and Suicide website

High Country News: Firearm safety group targets suicide at the source

On July 11, 2016, High Country News published this story about Colorado’s Gun Shop Project. (by Sarah Tory)

Rocky Mountain PBS: Gun deaths: Suicide rate quadruple homicide rate

On June 13, 2016, Rocky Mountain PBS New published this article about firearm deaths in Colorado between 2000 and 2011. They report that, “Suicides accounted for 76 percent of the 6,258 deaths from guns over the 12 years, while homicides comprised 20 percent. The rest were either accidental, legal shootings by law enforcement officers, or unexplained. Nationally, about 60 percent of gun deaths are suicides….Gun suicides were disproportionately committed by white residents, while homicide victims were predominately minority….Gun death victims were overwhelmingly male. They accounted for 85 percent of all deaths involving guns and 87 percent of suicides using guns….Those over age 70 had the highest rate of overall deaths from guns, 18 for every 100,000 residents of that age group.” (by RMPBS News Staff)

Washington Post: After a teen attempted suicide, this Colorado teacher set out to show her students they are special

On June 1, 2016, The Washington Post published this article about a Colorado teacher who made a difference in the lives of her students. (by Sarah Larimer)

Gazette: Colorado Springs teen suicides stun schools, worry parents

On May 24, 2016, The Gazette (Colorado Springs) published this article about teen suicides in the Colorado Springs area. (by Debbie Kelley)

Time: Colorado’s Gun Laws Simply Had to Change

On May 24, 2016, Time Books published this piece by Gov. John Hickenlooper about the history of the 2013 firearm-related bills. (by Gov. John Hickenlooper)

Denver Post: Appeals court says Colorado sheriffs can’t sue governor over gun laws

On March 22, 2016, The Denver Post published this article about the federal appeals court ruling concerning a lawsuit brought by a group of Colorado sheriffs over Colorado firearms restrictions. The ruling found that the plaintiffs hadn’t shown that they were harmed enough by the laws to have the authority to sue over them. (by John Ingold)

Denver Post: Suicide risk report rate soars in Jeffco schools

On November 13, 2015, The Denver Post published this article about a rise of more than 700 percent in suicide risk reports among students in Jefferson County schools in the past three years and a doubling in the number of reported threats over the past year. (by John Aguilar and Josie Klemaier)

CBS Denver: Colorado Sheriffs Move Forward With Challenge of State Gun Laws

On September 28, 2015, CBS Denver ran this story about a group of Colorado sheriffs moving forward with their fight to repeal Colorado firearm laws put in place in 2013.

Guardian: How Colorado has tightened its gun laws since the Aurora shooting

On July 25, 2015, The Guardian published this article about the impacts of and resistance to the 2013 Colorado firearms reforms. (by Scott Keyes)

PostIndependent: Part 1: What can we do about suicide? WE CAN TALK; Part 2: “To the edge and back’—one woman’s struggle with suicidal thoughts; Part 3: Can we rally for this deadly illness?

On February 27 and March 2, 2015, the PostIndependent (Glenwood Springs and Rifle) published this series of three articles about the stigma often associated with mental-health issues and suicide. (by John Stroud)

PostIndependent: Working age men at highest risk for suicide

On June 1, 2014, the PostIndependent (Glenwood Springs and Rifle) published this article reporting that, “Garfield County reported 11 suicides in 2013, all male. Summit County Coroner Tim Keeling reported eight suicides there in 2013, seven of which were self-inflicted gunshots. Six of those seven suicides were men.” (by Lauren Glendenning)

Daily Camera: Gun suicides now outpace traffic fatalities in Colorado

On November 30, 2013, the Daily Camera (Boulder) published this article about the need to frame suicide as a public health issue. (by Katharina Buchholz)

Westword: Is Colorado’s gun culture responsible for state’s awful new suicide record?

On August 26, 2013, Westword published this article about the increasing rate of suicides, especially by men, in Colorado. This story highlights “…ManTherapy.org, a website that uses humor in an effort to reach men who may be reluctant to seek help from other, more traditional sources….” (by Michael Roberts)

USA Today: Colorado governor signs stricter gun legislation into law

On March 20, 2013, USA Today published this article about Gov. John Hickenlooper signing stricter firearms legislation into law. (by Robin Webb)

Denver Post: 3 new gun bills on the books in Colorado despite its Wild West image

On March 20, 2013, The Denver Post published this article about Gov. John Hickenlooper signing three firearms related bills into law. (by Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee)

New York Times: Colorado Gun Laws Remain Lax, Despite Some Changes

On July 20, 2012, The New York Times published this article about Colorado firearms laws (in 2012) in light of the Aurora mass shooting tragedy. (by John Schwartz)

 


INFORMATION ABOUT FUNDING FOR PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH INVOLVING FIREARMS


American Psychological Association: Gun violence research: History of the federal funding freeze

This article, dated February 2013, provides an overview of research on the prevention of gun violence and the freeze on federal funding for this research. (by Christine Jamieson)

Washington Post: Why the CDC still isn’t researching gun violence, despite the ban being lifted two years ago

On January 14, 2015, The Washington Post published this article about continuing obstacles for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on causes and prevention of gun violence. (by Todd C. Frankel)

ABC News: Why the CDC Hasn’t Launched a Comprehensive Gun Study in 15 Years

On June 16, 2016, ABC News ran this story about the reasons behind the lack of gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (by Julie Barzilay, Dr. Laura Johnson, and Gillian Mohney)

PUBLIC LAW 104–208—SEPT. 30, 1996 (pdf file)

At 110 STAT. 3009–244, (TITLE II—Department of Health and Human Services—CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION), “Provided, That in addition to amounts provided herein, up to $48,400,000 shall be available from amounts available under section 241 of the Public Health Service Act, to carry out the National Center for Health Statistics surveys: Provided further, That none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control:…” Also see 110 STAT. 3009–371, SEC. 658. GUN BAN FOR INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED OF A MISDEMEANOR CRIME OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

PUBLIC LAW 112–74—DEC. 23, 2011 (pdf file)

At 125 STAT. 1085, “SEC. 218. None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.” At 125 STAT. 1110, SEC. 503(c), “The prohibitions in subsections (a) and (b) shall include any activity to advocate or promote any proposed, pending or future Federal, State or local tax increase, or any proposed, pending, or future requirement or restriction on any legal consumer product, including its sale or marketing, including but not limited to the advocacy or promotion of gun control.”

Report by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, January 2013 (pdf file)

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns request that, “…the federal government must revive research on firearms and remove restrictions on the use of information that can reduce crime and save lives.” Their recommendations include: “Remove “policy riders” on federal appropriations bills that limit firearms research at the CDC and NIH and provide appropriate funding to study the role of firearms on public health; Fully fund the National Violent Death Reporting System and expand it to all 50 states to improve our understanding of the role firearms play in fatalities; Reconstitute the research program on gun trafficking at the National Institute of Justice to update and expand our understanding of the market for illegal guns; Resume the publication of Justice Department reports on illegal gun markets and trafficking patterns; Rescind the Tiahrt Amendments; Expand the bulk sale reporting program for assault weapons to include all 50 states.”

 

 


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