A new report from the American Psychological Association “hopes to protect people from the lethal effects of firearms,” writes Diane R. Girardot. The report, titled Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy, boasts multiple authors. Dr. Susan Sorenson, who co-authored a chapter on public policy, “said the most pressing issue in gun violence prevention is addressing suicide, not gang-related crime or mass shootings. When you add statistics about domestic violence intimidation, coercion and often unintentional death as a result of firearms […] a very real national crisis becomes evident.”
W. Douglas Tynan, a pediatrics professor at Jefferson Medical College and another co-author, said the APA policy represents a scientific solution to a public health issue.
“The role of the policy is to study and look objectively at ways to help reduce the death toll,” Tynan said. “Its tone is rational in a debate that is often irrational.”
Studies to date show that background checks, waiting periods, mandatory reporting, ammunition limits, firearm design changes, and assault weapon bans “reduce homicides, injury and suicide without disturbing an individual’s right to own a gun—the same way life-saving measures within the tobacco industry didn’t [prevent] smokers from buying cigarettes,” Sorenson said.
“If we view firearms as a consumer product and use a public health approach we can reduce gun deaths. Things are not that futile that we shouldn’t do anything.”