On an average day in the United States, guns are used to kill almost eighty people and wound nearly three hundred more; yet such facts are accepted as a natural consequence of supposedly high American rates of violence. Private Guns, Public Health reveals the advantages of treating gun violence as a consumer safety and public health problem—an approach that emphasizes prevention over punishment and that has successfully reduced the rates of injury and death from infectious disease, car accidents, and tobacco consumption.
Hemenway fair-mindedly and authoritatively outlines a policy course that would significantly reduce gun-related injury and death, pointing us toward a solution.
"In this small book David Hemenway has produced a masterwork. He has dissected the various aspects of the gun violence epidemic in the United States into its component parts and considered them separately. He has produced a scientifically based analysis of the data and indeed the microdata of the over 30,000 deaths and 75,000 injuries which occur each year. Consideration and adoption of the policy lessons he recommends would strengthen the Constitutional protections that all of our citizens have to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
-Richard F. Corlin, Past President, American Medical Association
"This lucid and penetrating study is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the tragedy of gun violence in America and-even more important-what we can do to stop it. David Hemenway cuts through the cant and rhetoric in a way that no fair-minded person can dismiss, and no sane society can afford to ignore."
-Richard North Patterson, novelist
"The rate of gun-related homicide, suicide, and accidental injury has reached epidemic proportions in American society. Diagnosing and treating the gun violence epidemic demands the development of public health solutions in conjunction with legislative and law enforcement strategies."
-Kweisi Mfume, President and CEO of NAACP
"In scholarly, sober analytic assessments, including rigorous critiques of NRA-popularized pseudoscience, David Hemenway constructs a convincing case that firearm availability is a critical and proximal cause of unparalleled carnage. By formulating such violence as a public health issue, he proposes workable policies analogous to ones that reduced injuries from tobacco, alcohol, and automobiles."
-Jerome P. Kassirer, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine, and Distinguished Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
"As a former District Attorney and Attorney General, I know the urgency of providing safe homes, schools and neighborhoods for all. This remarkable tour-de-force is a powerful study of one promising solution: a data-rich, eminently readable demonstration of why we should treat gun violence as an American epidemic."
-Scott Harshbarger, Former Attorney General of Massachusetts, President and CEO of Common Cause
“Hemenway has written an accessible and compelling research brief that places the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of those opposed to the policy reforms he discusses. . . . One does not have to endorse his interpretation of the current research literature to agree that improved surveillance of unintentional firearm injuries, suicides, and homicides would help determine whether the lives saved and injuries averted are worth the monetary and symbolic costs of stricter gun control.”
—Journal of the American Medical Association
“. . . a detailed, sober account of the effect of guns on society. . . . [Hemenway] compares the public health problems created by firearms with those of tobacco and alcohol . . . [and] calls for a public health approach to firearms that ‘is not about banning guns but is about creating policies that will prevent violence and injuries.’”
—John Langone, New York Times
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