News ID: 112553
Published: 0416 GMT February 25, 2015

US gun violence major public health problem

US gun violence major public health problem

Gun-related casualties have turned into a “major public health problem” in the United States, according to eight US medical associations representing the majority of physicians in the country.

The coalition published a "call to action" Tuesday that urges the medical community to study deaths and injuries caused by gun violence without "political influence or restriction” in order to reduce the health and public health consequences of firearms, Press TV said.

The plea was made in an editorial and in a new study, both published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal published by the American College of Physicians.

“It does not matter whether we believe that guns kill people or that people kill people with guns -- the result is the same: a public health crisis," Dr. Darren Taichman, the journal's executive editor, wrote on behalf of the editorial board.

“Although some persons suggest that firearms provide protection, substantial evidence indicates that firearms increase the likelihood of homicide or, even more commonly, suicide,” the statement points out.

The report blames US politicians and the National Rifle Association (NRA) for much of the firearm-related injuries and deaths. It said lawmakers in Congress are cowering to the gun lobby and not treating gun violence as a public health issue.

Each year, more than 32,000 people die as a consequence of gun-related violence, suicides, and accidents in the United States, which is by far the highest among industrialized countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An average of 88 deaths occur per day due to firearm-related homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths.

A non-profit website, called Gun Violence Archive, has recorded about 6,130 gun incidents in the country in 2015 (as of February 25). According to the website, 1,207 people have lost their lives to gun violence during the first 36 days of this year.

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