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November 9, 1994

Firearm Violence and Public Health-Reply

Author Affiliations

The New York Academy of Medicine New York, NY

JAMA. 1994;272(18):1409. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520180030025

In Reply.  —On behalf of the signatories to the Commentary on firearm violence and public health, I thank those who wrote to express their opinions about the complex issues we addressed.The overall issue is whether the increasing use of firearms in interpersonal violence in this country can justifiably be called an epidemic, as we believe it can, and whether in that light it might benefit from a public health approach. No one has suggested, either in our Commentary or elsewhere, that inanimate objects, in this case firearms, by themselves and of their own volition, injure anyone. Nevertheless, in contrast to the overall rates for violent crimes in 1992, the handgun victimization rate in that year was the highest on record.1It is incorrect to suggest that there are 2.4 million "legitimate" defensive uses of firearms each year. The US Department of Justice statistics indicate that on average per

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