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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

Gun safety strategies: 04/09/2018

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health-oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

An evidence-based, public health gun safety strategy that is consistent with second amendment freedoms could contain six elements that range from enforcing prohibited gun purchase laws to better crime detection, suggests a sweeping viewpoint recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The authors, who are attorneys on the law faculties of Georgetown and Stanford Universities, suggest the first step is to legally prohibit dangerous persons from purchasing firearms. The authors suggest state, federal and other U.S. laws (and we quote): 'should encompass all potentially dangerous individuals, including those on 'no-fly' registers' (end of quote).

Second, the authors suggest federal laws that currently disqualify prohibited persons from buying firearms, need to be enforced. The authors note (and we quote): 'effective implementation requires accurate, comprehensive NICS data, minimum waiting periods, and universal background checks' (end of quote). NICS is the U.S.' National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Third, the authors suggest firearms should be safely stored at home with trigger locks in secure cabinets to prevent suicides and accidental gun discharges. The authors suggest states could legally pass laws that tailor lock mandates to high-risk environments, such as where loaded firearms may be accessible to children.

Fourth, the authors suggest recent Supreme Court decisions permit the U.S. government to ban especially hazardous weapons, such as military-style firearms, high capacity magazines, and armor piercing or exploding bullets.

Fifth, the authors explain more American municipalities should adopt some of the concealed carry laws that already exist in diverse areas of the U.S. The authors note (and we quote): 'research suggests that permissive right-to-carry laws significantly increase violent crime, including homicides' (end of quote).

Sixth and perhaps most interesting, the authors explain that effective law enforcement is vital to prevent, detect, and prosecute crimes. To do so, the authors note the importance of sharing crime data across jurisdictions and obtain information such as high-volume weapons purchasing, and tracing firearms or bullets used in criminal activity.

The authors conclude (and we quote): 'a well-regulated firearms environment is consistent with the Second Amendment and has substantially reduced firearm deaths in peer countries' (end of quote).

The viewpoint's authors encourage national elected officials to declare a public health emergency, convene a blue-ribbon panel, to focus on U.S. gun violence, in order to initiate more research and legal reforms. Moreover, the authors suggest there is a pragmatic, constructive, legal pathway to move forward to prevent gun violence in the U.S. and the overall issue should be perceived as a national public health emergency.

Meanwhile, information about preventing injuries from firearms in your home (from the Nemours Foundation) is available within the 'learn more' section of MedlinePlus.gov's gun safety health topic page.

The Nemours Foundation also provides advice what to do if someone has a weapon at school also within the 'learn more' section of MedlinePlus.gov's gun safety health topic page.

Links to the latest relevant journal research articles about gun safety are available within the 'journal articles' section of MedlinePlus.gov's gun safety health topic page.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's gun safety health topic page, please type 'gun safety' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'gun safety (National Library of Medicine).'

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It was nice to be with you. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!