Public health strategies saved hundreds of thousands of lives on U.S. highways since the 1970s, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expert quoted in a story in Sunday’s Denver Post.
The CDC began looking at gun violence as public health issue in the 1980s, but the National Rifle Association later lobbied to block funding for research, the newspaper continues.
The story also cites the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2001 report “Youth Violence,” which found that evidence-based prevention programs can be effective against all types of youth violence, even among youths who are already violent or seriously delinquent.
The report quotes a range of experts who say that gun violence must be treated as a public-health issue, but that conflicts can be avoided, concluding:
A public-health approach based on scientific research would provide practical solutions for communities — with the additional benefit of sidestepping the political quagmire of the constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms.
The City of Denver experienced a dramatic run of gun violence this year, following 122 firearm homicides in 2011, according to the story, which also notes that in 2010, there were 31,672 deaths in the United States from firearm-related injuries, up from 31,347 in 2009.
The Denver Post has mapped homicides since 2005 at: denverpost.com/denverhomicides