This is a Public Health Issue: The Gun Violence Project
A 1996 amendment banning the CDC from using funds to “advocate or promote gun control” has been an oft-cited obstacle in making gun violence a public health issue. Lack of official knowledge on the topic has policy makers and medical professionals unable to effectively do their jobs. The Supreme Court recently ruled that domestic violence convictions are grounds for banning them from possessing a firearm - but this does not change laws … it only means that we could. In order for such changes to be made, we first need to understand the climate surrounding gun usage in society, as well as understand how we currently consider it.
By examining firearms policies at all levels, sale and purchase of firearms and data on issuance and revocation of firearms, we can begin to understand what does and doesn’t work and what we need to do better. Information doesn’t have to harm society, but lack of it probably will.
When it comes the debate around to gun violence, we’re bombarded by tragedies like Columbine, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, the list goes on. But framing the issue around mass shootings misses a crucial point: guns are not only being used to kill other people. Overwhelmingly, they’re being used by people ending their own lives.
Under federal law, firearms that are 50 years old and over are classified as a “curio and relic,” and do not require an NCIS background check. However, these weapons are still used in crimes.
Florida law does not require licensing of firearm purchasers or registration of the weapons, only mandating that concealed weapons must be permitted. This means data is only kept for concealed firearms, which means nobody really knows how many unconcealed firearms there are.
Eight months ago, MuckRock launched a new project to examine nationwide gun policies. It was a simple premise: file the same FOIA request with all 50 Attorney General offices and state police departments, and see what standards we can draw. What we got, however, illustrates just how little consistency in the data there is - and how difficult tackling this problem can be.
Missouri State Congress overrode the veto on Senate Bill SB656 last Wednesday with a Republican supermajority, eliminating previously-required training to obtain concealed carry permits and strengthening the right to use force in situations where an individual fears for one’s safety. It’s unclear how the new law will affect concealed carry reciprocity agreements with other states.
Recently-released data from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation emphasizes high rates of urban gun violence, but rural numbers still contribute a majority of crimes.
A federal provision has practically knee-capped research into the violent uses of guns. So if the federal government can’t treat gun violence as a public health problem, then we will.
Caroline Curtis sent this request to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Special Licensing & Firearms Unit of Connecticut
Caroline Curtis sent this request to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection of Connecticut
Vanessa Nason sent this request to the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health of Alaska