November 18, 2020

Tom Fazzini, West End Strategy Team; 202-505-1210

New Report: Our National Epidemic of Gun Violence Is Curable

Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence releases report detailing how a public health model — which successfully reduced smoking deaths and car crash fatalities — could stop gun violence

WASHINGTON — The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (Ed Fund) released a report today outlining how a public health approach — the same method successfully used to reduce smoking deaths and car accident fatalities — can be applied to reducing the nation’s epidemic of gun violence. In recent years, nearly 40,000 people have been killed and more than 71,000 injured by firearms annually in the United States. The Ed Fund uses a public health and equity lens to identify and implement evidence-based policy solutions and programs to reduce gun violence in all of its forms.

The report, “The Public Health Approach to Gun Violence Prevention,” lays out a means of reducing the epidemic of gun violence by addressing both firearm access and the factors that contribute to and protect from gun violence.

“Our national epidemic of gun violence is a preventable public health crisis that could be contained and reduced using the tools right in front of us,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. “The public health approach is simple: define and study the problem, identify risk factors, and then develop and implement prevention strategies. This strategy worked to eradicate diseases like polio, reduce smoking deaths and decrease motor vehicle crashes. It would work to end America’s deadly epidemic of gun violence.”

The report compares the public health successes of car safety regulations with similar policy measures that could reduce gun violence. By using a comprehensive public health approach to car safety, the United States reduced per-mile driving deaths by nearly 80% from 1967 to 2017, saving 3.5 million lives. This reduction was accomplished by taking steps such as allocating funds to study the epidemic of motor vehicle crashes, creating national safety regulations for car manufacturers that made vehicles safer and ensuring drivers had training and licenses. 

A similar approach to prevent gun violence would include allocating funds to research gun violence, allowing federal agencies to regulate firearm manufacturers and ensure gun safety, and requiring firearm purchasers to submit an application, undergo a background check, and complete a safety course to obtain a license to own a firearm. It would also include investing in community-based violence intervention and prevention initiatives that interrupt cycles of retaliatory violence and provide wraparound support to those at risk for violence.

The full report is available online as part of the research library developed by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, which also includes state- and county-level statistics about gun deaths in addition to analysis of U.S. firearm homicides, suicides, and community gun violence, as well as prevention policies such as extreme risk protection orders, universal background checks and more. 


About the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) affiliate organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. The Ed Fund uses a public health and equity lens to identify and implement evidence-based policy solutions and programs to reduce gun violence in all its forms and to make gun violence rare and abnormal. The Ed Fund is the gun violence prevention movement’s premier research intermediary and founder of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a group of academics and practitioners who collaborate to develop innovative recommendations for policymakers.