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2013-2 Firearm Violence

Brief summary of the issue   

Fatal and nonfatal injuries from firearms constitute a major health problem in the United States.  Firearm-related suicides and homicides were the fourth and fifth leading causes of injury death in the United States during 2006-2007, together accounted for approximately 30,000 fatalities each year.  Nationally, the firearm homicide rate among youths aged 10-19 years slightly exceeded the rate for persons of all ages.  While motor-vehicle deaths dropped 22 percent from 2005 to 2010, gun fatalities are rising again after a low point in 2000.  Based on these trends, gun-related fatalities are on pace to surpass deaths from automobile collisions by 2015. 


According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the direct medical costs of treating fatal gun injuries combined with the economic damages of lost lives totaled $37 billion in 2005 (the most recent year for which data is available).  The cost of treating non-fatal gun injuries was an additional $3.7 billion that year.   


The American Trauma Society continues to support a number of specific measures to reduce the destructive effects of guns through the implementation of the following recomendations:


  • Provide public education on gun safety to include gun safety devices and safe storage
  • Protect the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety
  • Increase funding for teaching and supporting non-violent conflict resolution
  • Encourage federal agencies to perform and fund firearm research to determine the most effective interventions to reduce gun violence
  • Increase funding to expand the availability and quality of mental health care
  • Enhance mandatory background checks for the purchase of firearms to include guns shows and auction
  • Enact, maintain and enforce legislation banning civilian access to automatic assault weapons and large ammunition clips

Approved by ATS Board of Directors June 2013

References To Support Statements:

Jensen JM, Powell A, Forrest-Bank S. Effective violence prevention approaches in school, family, and community settings. In: Herrenkohl TI, Aisenberg E, Willaims JH, Jensen JM (eds). Violence in context: current evidence on risk, protection, and prevention. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2011


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