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October 2013

Firearm Injuries and Death: The Cost of Shooting in the Dark

Author Affiliations
  • 1Emory University, Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Decatur, Georgia
JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(10):1007-1008. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2492

In 1983, I joined the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, to help start a program to use scientific research to understand gun violence as a public health problem. In the 1990s, the National Rifle Association (NRA) killed that program.

Since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the national statistics on gun violence have been widely reported. Firearm-related deaths number more than 30 000 each year, and two-thirds of these deaths are suicides. Tens of thousands more people are seriously injured by guns. Those injuries impose significant burdens for care and rehabilitation on families, communities, and the health care system.