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A new edition of a classic: the first complete picture of the public-health approach to gun violence


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Copyright © 2004, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


On an average day in the United States, guns are used to kill over ninety people and wound about three hundred more; yet such facts are accepted as a natural consequence of supposedly high American rates of violence. Private Guns, Public Health reveals the advantages of treating gun violence as a consumer safety and public health problem—an approach that emphasizes prevention over punishment and that has successfully reduced the rates of injury and death from infectious disease, car accidents, and tobacco consumption.

Hemenway fair-mindedly and authoritatively outlines a policy course that would significantly reduce gun-related injury and death, pointing us toward a solution.


David Hemenway is Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Director of Harvard’s Injury Control Research Center. In 2012 he was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as one of the twenty “most influential injury and violence professionals over the past twenty years.”


“Hemenway has written an accessible and compelling research brief that places the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of those opposed to the policy reforms he discusses. . . . One does not have to endorse his interpretation of the current research literature to agree that improved surveillance of unintentional firearm injuries, suicides, and homicides would help determine whether the lives saved and injuries averted are worth the monetary and symbolic costs of stricter gun control.”
Journal of the American Medical Association

“. . . a detailed, sober account of the effect of guns on society. . . . [Hemenway] compares the public health problems created by firearms with those of tobacco and alcohol . . . [and] calls for a public health approach to firearms that ‘is not about banning guns but is about creating policies that will prevent violence and injuries.’”
—John Langone, New York Times

“. . . Hemenway makes a compelling case that using a public health approach to gun-related injuries in this country is the best way to reduce death and injuries. . . . Private Guns, Public Health is essential reading for those interested in gun injury and death in the United States. Public health officials, legislators, proponents of injury prevention, and health care professionals could all benefit from reading this book. The author has integrated what is known about firearm injuries into one easy-to-read source.”
Journal of Emergency Nursing 

Recommended reading by Parkland Shooting survivor David Hogg | NPRRecommended Reading List | FiveThirtyEightInterview | Al Jazeera English
Review | Daily Beast