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6 proven ways to reduce gun violence

LThis week we saw thepassagein the first package of a generation of new federal firearm injury-related policies. I heard that the funds to prevent firearm injuries are likely to be redistributed. And in the stroke of theSupreme Court ruling, the state learned to lose a common mechanism for deciding who carries firearms.

Meanwhile, in the last two months, our country has suffered the fear of white supremacists shooting grocery shoppers inBuffalo. Ruthless murder of 19 children and 2 teachers in TexasUvalde. Dozens of people were injured or killed in a series of mass shootings at malls, streets, and graduation parties. Countless, rarely reportedfirearm suicidesall this unrequited sadness for more than a million Americans killed by COVID-19, two years of school and work Confusion, deepening political divisions, and new judicial activities.

Changes look dazzling. There is hope, but at the same time it is inadequate. As trauma-trained physicians, we know that we build resilience to despair through action and purpose. At what point does optimism, which maintains its behavior and purpose, become hollow? Exacerbated victims of death and injury feed a soul-breaking story.

Still, from my point of view as aperson treatinggunshot wounds and as a public health expertworks to prevent them,I Is not ready Give up what I consider to be practical optimism. I both recognize the urgency and know that there are opportunities for action.

The science of public health teaches very clearly that a single act, a single law, a single organization cannot or will not change the flow. It is the combination that makes the difference. A combination of vaccine, test, ventilation and masking during surge was needed to reduce the damage of COVID-19. Similarly, a wide range of actions are required to reduce firearm injuries and deaths. Last week's federal firearms policy was excellent and inadequate in itself.

And if there's good news here, it's: Despite 20 years of federal research, there is increasing evidence (but still inadequate) of what makes a difference. It is rarely implemented, whether it is a policy or not. This leaves a clear list of "to do" of evidence-based actions that we can take today.

  1. Join a community groupCommunity involvement is effective in preventing violence for all, especially the rate of injury and death of all firearms Is so for young Americans who are on the rise. Individual-focused organizations such as the Big Brothers Big Sistersand community-wide coalitions such as the widely studiedCommunity That Careprogram are at risk of violence alone. Factors for children that also help improve multiple other risks. Other groups, such as the Nonviolence Institute(my board of directors), Chicago CRED,Wraparound Project, have combined to be the root cause of firearm injuries. It is working. Outreach in hospitals and streets, vocational training, community support. The success of these organizations requires mentoring, financial support, and community involvement. You can find them, and help them-in almost every city and town across the country.
  2. Planting a gardenThis may seem trivial, butevidence is indisputable: Planting a garden in a vacant lot, near it The number of gunshots in is reduced. Working to support the sense of place and its involvement with the natural world relieves depression, anxiety and isolation.
  3. Promote safe firearm storageShoot yourselforshoot someone elseMost kids shoot guns using family firearms .. Many gun crimes are committed withstolen weaponsbut we already know how to protect firearms from unauthorized users. From safes to trigger locks, there are very effective solutions. Manyfirearm owners are responsible for using at least some of these tools. Unfortunately, cost, convenience, and education mean that these life-saving practices are not universal. One of the most practical and effective steps that anyone can take is to identify and discusssafe storage methodsby changing the norms, you can literally save lives.
  4. Make sure that the existing law is in force. You can also work to help enforce existing laws designed to reduce firearm injuries, many of which are not well known or well understood. One of many examples: firearms are the leading cause of death for domestic violent murders,common risk factors for mass shootings, many states (myself, Rhode). There are laws that require persons subject to domestic violence control orders (including islands) to hand over firearms. However,enforcement of such laws(including my state) is uneven. Locally, it helps to share awareness and support the implementation of policies already in the book.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and know what to do when you see them. For clarity, mental illnessdoes not cause a mass shooting of. But it is related to self-harm. There are also many otherwarning signsthat indicate a high likelihood of firearm violence, such as substance use, dementia,online threats, and domestic violence. You need to be aware of these risks and know how to do something. In some states, the so-called"Danger Signals Act"allows the removal of firearms from some dangerous individuals, butpublic awareness remains low {85. But even in the absence of such a law, friends and family members can continue to pay attention to early warning signs and know what resources are useful before it's too late. increase. I and others are working on traininghealthcare providersandnon-healthcare providerson how to do this. To share this training, you can joinus.
  6. Know the facts and share the storyEvery day across the United States, more than 100 people die from firearms and more than 200 are injured. Most of these deaths are firearm suicides. Almost all Americans personally know who has been affected by a firearm injury. By sharing both facts and stories, we can condemn this epidemic and advance the coalition for change.

Before guns and ammunition reach those preparing for misuse, each of us has a very realistic opportunity to reshape the dynamics that contribute to firearm injuries.

It may be overwhelming to think about all the ways individuals, families, communities and societies need to change, but we still have the power to make a difference.