Can gun violence be treated at par with public health crisis in U.S.?

ANI | Updated: Nov 16, 2017 17:23 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 16 (ANI): Even as researches claim that more than 30,000 people are killed in gun violence in the U.S. every year, the government is yet to treat gun injuries or deaths as a public health threat like in the case of AIDS or car crashes, reported news broadcaster NPR.

The news report cites the example of Zika virus outbreak last year, when the US Department of Health and Human Services and state officials launched outreach campaigns to encourage people to use bug spray.

But when 50 people died and more than 400 were injured in Las Vegas in October 2017, and later another 26 died in Texas in mass shooting, public health officials have had almost no role to play.

That is because the victims in Las Vegas and Texas were killed with guns, the report quoted the experts as saying.

"If you look at the number of people who have died or been injured from gun violence, that dwarfs the number of people who have been affected by Zika or Ebola. There's absolutely no comparison," said former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

The report claims that the government spends about USD 22 million a year on research into gun violence, which is a tiny fraction of what it spends on other major health threats.

After the most recent shooting, according to the Democrats in Congress, they call for more restrictions on guns while the Republicans, including President Trump, describe this problem as is mental health.

"When a new disease, particularly an infectious disease, enters the community ... we have a mechanism to anticipate it, track it, get our arms around it," said Dr. Georges Benjamin from the American Public Health Association.

"We do that when he have measles, mumps, chicken pox, Zika. But firearm-related death and disability, we don't," Dr. Benjamin added.

The experts wanted to reduce the toll of gun injuries without cutting off access to them.

Benjamin suggested that creating more shooting ranges may be a good idea, so gun owners have a safe place to use their weapons.

"We have done everything we can to ensure that this epidemic of death and disability from firearms is only going to get worse," DR. Benjamin concluded. (ANI)