Private Guns and Public Health

Parents of children killed at Shady Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut arrived in Washington, D.C. with President Obama on Air Force One yesterday. They came to make their case for tough, far-reaching legislation.

Today a news conference has been scheduled by a bi-partisan working group of U.S. Senators to announce an agreement that barely begins to address the problem.

Making a Killing: the Business of Guns in America by former NRA member Tom Diaz unmasks the peculiar legal exemptions that keep the firearms industry in the shadows of American public life. When it was published in 1999, the Ft. Worth Morning Star-Telegram wrote,

“Although the gun industry is shrouded in federally protected secrecy, Diaz has uncovered a remarkable amount of data on individual manufacturers. Making a Killing is frightening and enlightening.”

The National Law Journal review said, in words that apply equally today,

“Rather than rehash old arguments on handgun availability, Diaz looks at the financial motives behind the gun industry. He points out how few restraints the government places on guns as consumer products, and how this lack of restraint plays out in society.”

In Private Guns,Public Health, “a dramatic new plan for ending America’s epidemic of gun violence,” Devid Hemenway uncovers the complex connections between guns and self-defense, guns and homicide, and gun violence and schools. He argues for a bold new public-health approach that would reduce gun-related injury and death. David Hemenway is Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and Director of Harvard’s Injury Control Research Center and Youth Violence Prevention Center.