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Healthy Policy: Gun Violence Arms Are for Hugging

5 months ago

1490 words

To:  President Donald Trump
From:  Samer Khawaja, PA-C
Date:  January 19,2018
Re:  Federal Mandate on Banning Sale on Concealed Weapons/Firearms (GUNS)

Statement of Issue:  

More than 30,000 people are killed and over 60,000 are injured because of guns ever year in the United States.  Guns can be utilized as weapons for mass homicide and suicide. According to the APA, the rates of gun homicides in the United States is substantially higher than many other nations in the world. The use of guns as lethal weapons are responsible for 2/3 of the homicides and more than half of all suicides in the United States.  CDC mentions that 30 people die of homicides and 53 die of suicides everyday with someone using a gun.

As one of the leading causes of death, it is the least funded for research from the government. Even though, firearms prevention has cost US about $2.3 billion. Treating gun violence as a public health crisis instead of a policy problem is the only way to prevent deaths, if proper public health measures are taken.  Guns and other firearms allow individuals with the capacity to participant in a multiple-persons fatal shootings. This impacts the society negatively, with greater trauma and grief. Thus, the public has the right to act in a manner that makes our communities safer.

There are a variety of contributing factors that makes a person likely to use a gun against themselves or others. According to the APA, there is no one single cause as to who will use a gun in a violent act. The association of gun violence, is a culmination of  the individual, family, friends, community, school, and societal risk factors over time.  Gun violence affects all peoples of different ages and races. According to NPR greater trends of gun violence have been noted predominantly in the United States by young adult males from ethnic minorities. With devastating mass shootings in the last few years, ongoing gun violence has plagued throughout the nation, addressing this epidemic is necessary. By limiting the restrictions on the sale of guns and other weapons, we will safeguard our communities and public spaces, preventing the deaths of innocents.

1.     Gun violence is a public health problem not a policy problem. (look at STATS)

2.     More government lead prevention efforts are needed. Prevention efforts that are funded by the government allow for more guided research. This will be necessary to determine the developmental risks in terms of an individual being exposed to firearms in certain communities, families, or through criminal activities. Research can also determine the risk that individuals with mental illness contribute to the gun violence epidemic. This can help alleviate the burden of violence in the society.

3.     Prevention of violence begins in early childhood. These programs aim at educating parents with growing children. Raising awareness of healthy children behavior and differentiating problem behaviors and taking action early.

4.     Recognizing individuals who are diagnosed with a mental illness as not dangerous. It is imperative to note that these individuals may be at risk for harming themselves or others. So having access to mental health services/interventions will facilitate those ideations and help to prevent gun violence. The stigma surrounding individuals with mental illness needs to be addressed as well, as not all individuals are dangerous and just need proper allocated treatments.

5.     Caring and knowledgeable mental health providers. Health care providers that solely focus on behavior patterns and addresses persons suffering from mental illness. These professionals can provide treatment to those with diagnosed disorders, leveling the access of mental health services offered.

6.     Firearms prohibition for high risk groups. This pertains to individuals that are a threat to society, including domestic violence offenders, convicted with violent crimes, and/or individuals with mental illness.

 Policy Options

1.     A federal mandate that denies American individuals the right to carry concealed weapons. This would reduce the accessibility to firearms thus safeguarding communities.

a.     Advantages. Currently guns can be purchased from federally licensed firearm dealers or private unlicensed sellers, which includes gun shows, flea markets, Internet or even off market streets. This mandate would eliminate these sales and purchases. Also, this restriction would only allow the use of weapons and other firearms by military or law enforcement. Ensuring weapons from falling in the wrong hands, for example gang members or mentally unstable individuals. This should decrease mass shooting and prevent the death of innocent people.

b.     Disadvantages. The right of American individuals to bear arms is violated. Businesses that rely on the sale of weapons and other firearms will greatly suffer. This can cause illegal, black market guns/firearms sale on the streets to rise and may lead to criminal activity.

2.     A federal mandate that enacts a stricter law to accessing permits to carry a concealed weapon. This would be achievable by improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, requiring universal background checks for all firearms purchases, individuals that are in high risk groups.  

a.     Advantages. If the background check system is utilized correctly, this would limit the sale of weapons to high risk individuals thus protecting majority of peoples. Restrictions on the sale of guns allow for those that are purchased and sold to be properly traced when used in associated of crimes. 9/10 Americans agree with universal background checks. Brady Law of 1994, approximately 2 million attempts to purchase firearms have been blocked, and half of these purchases were by felons.

b.    Disadvantages. State laws vary and some states with stricter concealed carry permits may require different limitations. If some states do not record or collect data correctly, this can enable dangerous individuals to carry firearms from state to state, without account. Also, some states may not suffer from the gun violence epidemic and benefit from the sales of firearms, thus diminishing the need to establish laws. People who are prohibited might have someone else not prohibited to purchase a gun for them, this is called “straw purchase”.

3.     Increase funding for health surveillance and firearm-related injuries/fatalities.

a.     Advantages. Research guided in these categories allows detailed accounts of violent death in America. Standardizing the data from the surveillance and from other reporting system, allows researchers to tabulate the actually fatality reviews. One program is the National Violent Death Reporting System, NVDRS, which acts as a source of information on suicides, homicides, unintentional fatal shootings and law enforcement related fatalities. This includes accounts of the victims and their injuries. This program informs governments and communities, then raises efforts to increase programs to evaluates interventions that prevents violent death. Cross agency collaboration allows each state with these systems to  work coherently with police departments and law enforcement to improve data sharing in critical cases. More funding will allow for prevention programs to begin at a younger age, to protect children from gaining access to guns as well.

b.    Disadvantages. The sharing of data can be problematic and unsafe. People may be untruthful when reporting and can cause for more individuals to go unwarranted. Medical treatments, criminal justice proceedings, new security precautions and reductions in quality of life estimates to costs United States  $100 billion annually, many the costs borne by taxpayers.


Policy Recommendation

With rising use of guns and firearms rates, rising preventable death occurs, such that quick reform is needed to safeguard individuals. Some programs attempted to implement limitations on states however the disconnection allowed for loopholes and became a public health crisis. This essentially put other individuals in harm, those unable to protect themselves who got caught in the cross fire. Violence is a disease, and a federal mandate with stricter limitations, banning the sale on firearms, would prevent unnecessary suicides, homicides and fatal mass shootings. By mandating this provision, restrictions against individuals with history of domestic abuse, mental illnesses, convicted crimes and more would be unable to harm themselves or others.

Recently, mass shootings have been on the rise, and often these individuals have access to multiple firearms or are diagnosed as “mentally unstable.” Increased surveillance and research would mobilize support for violence prevention efforts. Funding allocated to injuries caused by guns and firearms can be resourced to further prevention efforts of freely obtaining firearms. The federal mandate will streamline high risk individuals, that are achieved by the required background checks, enforcing proper data accounts of those selling and purchasing guns. This mandate will not just protect innocents, those who suffer from mental illnesses or risky behavior also will gain resources for behavior intervention in aims to reduce gun violence. Overall, the goal is the protect our communities from gun violence epidemic.




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