March 5, 2018
An editorial in the March issue of The Lancet, one of England’s most respected medical journals, applauds young people who are behind the nationwide gun control mobilizations that emerged in response to the Parkland mass shooting that resulted in the death of 17 people.
According to The Lancet:
Students from Parkland have been promoting a clear message to politicians: they want the mass shooting that took place at their school to be the last.
Young people have had enough. They do not want empty declarations of sympathy without any action following mass shootings; they want policy and change.
The powerful gun lobby is responding to the mobilizations with contempt for the victims. As ESENDOM reported on Feb. 26:
“Using bullying tactics, the NRA is defending itself at all costs without reflecting on the harm firearms are inflicting. On February 18, actress and activist Alyssa Milano shared a copy of a NRA letter via her Twitter account. The letter was originally sent to Tim Burns, a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge. In it, the NRA wrote: “If you choose not to return a position letter, you may be assigned a “?” rating, which can be interpreted by our membership as indifference, if not outright hostility, toward Second Amendment-related issues.”
A Growing Public Health Problem
The prestigious medical journal takes a clear stand on the issue of gun violence that it rightly defines as a health problem affecting millions of people in the United States:
“Gun violence is a huge public health problem in America. More than 38,600 people were killed by guns in homicides and suicides in the USA in 2016, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some 85,000 people were injured by firearms in 2015. The country's gun homicide rate is more than 25 times higher than that of other high-income countries. The toll on America's youngest citizens is substantial and unacceptable: nearly 1300 children and adolescents aged 17 years or younger die in gun homicides and suicides each year, and a further 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds."
To fix this public health problem won’t be easy. However, The Lancet calls for a “multifaceted approach” and makes the following recommendations:
- Universal background checks
- Mandatory licenses for adults to own firearms and ammunition
- And a total ban on assault weapons, and reversal of the 1996 amendment to a spending bill that prevents the CDC from advocating or promoting gun control.