Benchmark Policy Brief: Gun Violence
Grand Canyon University: NRS-428
Benchmark Policy Brief: Gun Violence
This policy brief presents the effects gun violence has on communities and health care delivery systems. In addition, it will provide statistical data on health care costs associated with treating victims of gun violence and strategies that can help develop systems that make communities safer from gun violence.
Policy Health Issue
Gun deaths and injuries are becoming a public health epidemic issue. Awareness must be raised on the severity gun violence poses on our communities and how frequent these attacks occur (Gross, D., & Benjamin, G., 2016). Health disparities such as low socioeconomic status or living in rural or high crime areas will increase an individual’s risk of experiencing gun violence however, this type of violence is not restricted to only certain areas.
Gun violence is a nationwide issue that affects all population groups and has no age limit when it comes to its victims. Guns have become the second cause of death for individuals ranging from ages 1 to 24 (Gross, D., & Benjamin, G., 2016). Based on fatal injury data released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gun deaths are increasing affecting over 34,000 individuals a year despite being preventable (Gross, D., & Benjamin, G., 2016).
Problems Guns Cause
The issue of gun violence is convoluted and ingrained into our culture, which is why we must take a public health approach to safeguarding our families and communities. We must place a revived significance on improving gun injury and gun violence research (APHA, 2019). Mass shootings have increased over the decades and some of the most recent ones have occurred in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, San Diego, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Many people blame the easy accessibility of purchasing firearms and limited gun regulations for the cause of these mass shootings and increased homicides. These random, unpredictable, unconscionable acts of gun violence cannot always be avoidable, but precautions such as stricter gun control laws or decreasing access to semi-automatic weapons can be made to help prevent additional incidences (APHA, 2019). Without initiating political changes or implementing stricter gun laws the threats of impending mass shootings and homicides will continue to warrant appropriate action and planning. If severe penalties are not enforced for the infliction of gun affiliated crimes or stricter gun laws are not initiated gun violence will continue to terrorize communities and injure innocent parties (Falkner, A. 2018). Postponing preventive measures or changes any longer will only cause further devastation and additional lives lost (APHA, 2019).
Impact on the Delivery Health System
Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S. claiming the lives of more than 38,000 people and injuring 85,000 others annually (APHA, 2019). The economic impact of gun related incidents costs more than $174 billion in both health care and societal costs (Gross, D., & Benjamin, G., 2016). In addition, hospitals around the globe spend thousands of dollars to provide active shooter training to their health care workers to prepare them appropriately in the event an attack occurs (Falkner, A. 2018).
Strategies for Action
Lawmakers need to work on providing a solution for gun violence to help prevent mass shooting incidents and protect individuals from becoming victims. The best way to reverse the expanding gun violence epidemic is to approach it the same way we do any infectious outbreak. We should research its origin, its cause and its means of transmission to find an effective solution (Benjamin, G., 2015). The public health community should unite to address gun violence. They can do this by studying evidence base, implementing prevention measures, assessing gaps in knowledge and appointing someone to coordinate our national response (Benjamin, G., 2015).
Actions Already Being Taken
Provisions that The House of Representatives have already taken this year include passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which requires checks for all firearm purchases and providing funding for the 2020 fiscal year dedicated to the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill for gun violence prevention research. These two preventive measures will help keep firearms away from individuals who are legally prohibited from owning them and help fund scientific research for discovering the best ways to prevent and address gun violence (APHA, 2019). Connecticut implemented a law requiring purchasers of firearms to pass a background check, get a gun license, complete eight hours of gun safety training and raised the purchasing age to 21 the rate of gun-related murders fell significantly almost by 40% providing evidence that implementing stricter gun laws saves lives (Storrs, C., 2015).
American Public Health Association (APHA), APHA mourns gun violence victims, calls for immediate action. (2019, August 5). Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://www.apha.org/news-and-media/news-releases/apha-news-releases/2019/apha-mourns-gun-violence.
American Public Health Association (APHA), Gun Violence. (2019). Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/gun-violence.
Benjamin, G. (2015, December 4). Gun violence is an epidemic that needs a public health response | Georges Benjamin. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/04/gun-violence-epidemic-shooting-deaths-public-health-policy.
Falkner, A. (2018). Disaster Management. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://lc.gcumedia.com/nrs427vn/community-and-public-health-the-future-of-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/5.
Gross, D., & Benjamin, G. (2016, February 4). Diagnosis: Gun deaths and injuries are a public health issue. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/237518-diagnosis-gun-deaths-and-injuries-are-a-public-health-issue.
Storrs, C. (2015, June 13). Connecticut’s gun law linked to large homicide drop. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://us.cnn.com/2015/06/12/us/gun-law-homicide-drop/index.html.
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