HS 590 D3 Legislation and Public Health: Gun Control
The public health approach has been used to decrease motor vehicle fatalities and could be used to prevent gun violence. There are 5 components to the public health approach model including focusing on the population, prevention, engineering for safety, examining all interventions, and collective responsibility. Using this approach to decrease gun violence would include using a national reporting system consistently in all 50 states, which would allow us to truly gain an understanding of gun violence by having access to accurate statistics in all areas. It would also include working with gun manufacturers to engineer more safety features on firearms, make guns more traceable by adding more permanent serial numbers and tracking devices, and adding responsibility for the manufactures to track their guns and report any sale or misuse. Finally, this approach would include mandatory universal background checks for all gun sales, more authority for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to ensure guns do not get into the wrong hands, and requirements for gun owners to be licensed and prove that they are securely, and properly storing their firearms.1
In 1996 there was a mass shooting in Australia that sparked a major gun policy change. Thirty-five people were killed and 18 injured by a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle.2 In the 12 days following the massacre, Australia reformed their gun laws banning citizen ownership of “semiautomatic long guns and pump action shotguns” and internet and/or mail gun sales.2 The reform also required citizens to register all firearms and provide proof of reason for firearm possession. Finally, Australia used tax levies to create a buy back incentive and caused citizens to relinquish over 1 million firearms. This reform ended mass shootings in Australia and significantly decrease firearm related deaths.
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