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Gun Laws and the Science of Harm

12.18.12

David Hemenway

David Hemenway

Photograph courtesy of the Harvard School of Public Health

In the wake of the tragic killings of more than two dozen people, mostly young children, in Newtown, Connecticut, the New York Times published an editorial advocating much stricter gun laws in the United States, pointing out that “the American murder rate is roughly 15 times that of other wealthy countries, which have much tougher laws controlling private ownership of guns.”  In two places, the text cites research from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health, whose director is professor of health policy David Hemenway.  The Harvard Magazine feature “Death by the Barrel” describes and explains Hemenway’s research, which applies the scientific method to the gun problem and frames it as a public-health, rather than a political, issue, distilling some of the findings and ideas in his 2004 book, Private Guns Public Health, a comprehensive treatise on both the grim facts and the policy issues involved in firearm regulation.

 

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