The Hill: Easy Access to Guns Causes ‘Public Health Epidemic’

Reuters/Jim Young
Reuters/Jim Young

On April 1, The Hill ran a column describing gun violence in terms of “public health and safety,” claiming that easy access to guns is “causing a public health epidemic that we need to address urgently.”

The column announces that health professionals, academicians, and leaders of gun control groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence came together in March to discuss these matters and will be convening again in October to discuss, in greater detail, how to treat gun violence as a public health issue.

According to The Hill, those convening said their goal “is to use a public health approach to make this consumer product”–i.e., guns–“as safe as possible and to keep them out of the hands of people who legally should not have them.” They believe making “the guns safer, the environment with guns safer, and people safer with guns can save thousands of lives every year.”

Those who met in March discussed suicide as an increasing contributor to the number of firearm-related deaths in America each year.

The column did not mention the Harvard-published study titled “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?” which showed that in countries where guns have been banned–or access to them greatly reduced–the suicide rate remains as high or much higher than it is in the United States.

In other words, access to guns is not the problem.

For example, the study shows than in Russia–where total bans on handguns and numerous other guns existed at the time of the study–not only was the murder rate “four times higher” than in America, but the suicide rate, as well. Why? Because “denying one particular means to people who are motivated to commit suicide by social, economic, cultural, or other circumstances simply pushes them to [commit suicide by] some other means.”

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