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Medical News & Perspectives
February 27, 2013

Search for Ways to Reduce Gun Violence Spurred by Toll of Recent Shootings

JAMA. 2013;309(8):755-756. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.610

The December 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, has reenergized efforts aimed at reducing US gun violence—the cause of about 31 000 deaths annually, including 19 000 suicides.

Last month, more than 20 of the world's leading gun policy experts gathered at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for a 2-day summit that produced recommendations on ways to reduce gun violence. The next day, President Obama unveiled his own plan. Both sets of actions incorporate several key elements: improving the background check system for people buying firearms, expanding the criteria to prevent high-risk individuals from purchasing guns, banning sales of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, improving the mental health system, and funding research to understand the causes and solutions of gun violence.