Decrease guns in the community, collect public health data, limit viewing of violent material
THURSDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Following the tragic shooting on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., measures should be implemented to prevent further gun-related injuries, according to a perspective piece published online Dec. 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Noting that, in 2010, gun-related injuries accounted for 6,570 deaths of children and young people, Judith S. Palfrey, M.D., from the Boston Children's Hospital, and Sean Palfrey, M.D., from the Boston Medical Center, discussed prevention of gun deaths in children. Despite evidence of the effectiveness of counseling families about gun safety, certain legislation seeks to prevent doctors from conducting preventive screens. Furthermore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been prevented from using funds available for injury prevention and control for research that may be used to advocate or promote gun control, thereby limiting the gathering of public health data.
The authors recommend specific measures to prevent gun-related injury, including reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons and limitation of the magazine and ammunition capacity and tissue-destruction capability of ammunition. In addition, a goal should be established to reduce the number of guns in homes and communities via tighter consumer-safety regulations, licensure, and certification of gun owners. Collection of public health data on gun-related injuries should be allowed. Limiting children's viewing of violent material on television and video games should be emphasized. Finally, funding should be increased to identify young individuals who may be at high risk for committing interpersonal violent acts.
"If we take these steps, we will honor our children who have died needlessly," the authors write. "Our nation can prevent the loss of precious lives."