ARTICLE: GUNS AND PUBLIC HEALTH: EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE OR PANDEMIC OF PROPAGANDA? Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1995 Tennessee Law Review Association, Inc.
Tennessee Law Review

ARTICLE: GUNS AND PUBLIC HEALTH: EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE OR PANDEMIC OF PROPAGANDA?

SPRING, 1995

62 Tenn. L. Rev. 513

Author

Don B. Kates, * Henry E. Schaffer, Ph.D., ** John K. Lattimer, M.D., *** George B. Murray, M.D., **** and Edwin H. Cassem, M.D. *****

Excerpt

I. Introduction

Predictably, gun violence, particularly homicide, is a major study topic for social scientists, particularly criminologists. 2 Less predictably, gun crime, accidents, and suicide are also a topic of study among medical and public health professionals. Our focus is the remarkable difference between the way medical and public health writers treat firearms issues and the way social scientists treat those issues. Examination of the literature produced by medical and health writers reveals why their conclusions on firearms diverge so radically from those of criminological scholarship. We focus on that literature's anomalies both for their own sake and because that focus allows us to explore some of the more important policy and legal issues of gun control.

II. The Public Health Agenda

In 1979 the American public health community adopted the "objective to reduce the number of handguns in private ownership," the initial target being a 25% reduction by the year 2000. 3 Based on studies, and propelled by leadership from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the objective has broadened so that it now includes banning and confiscation of all handguns, restrictive licensing of owners of other firearms, and eventual elimination of firearms from American life, excepting (perhaps) only a small elite of extremely wealthy collectors, hunters, or target shooters. This is the case in many European countries. 4

In this connection, the term "gun control" needs some clarification. That term could mean no more than noncontroversial measures to ...
 
 
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