Guns and Public Health in the Crosshairs

Targeting an American public health issue

Published on May 5, 2014 by Dana March

The United States, while home to only five percent of the world’s population, is home to nearly 50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned firearms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30,000 deaths annually in the U.S. are attributable to guns. However, this highly politicized issue is not often viewed as a public health problem. Indeed, lobbying by the National Rifle Association and other special interest groups has targeted the framing of firearm-related injuries as a public health issue, in part by freezing federal funding devoted to gun violence research.

This week, the2x2project has guns in the United States in its crosshairs. We will explore multiple angles of this critical public health issue—the deeply entrenched politics framing gun violence and its public health implications in the United States, the role of advertising in both gun sales and harm reduction, and the interplay of mental illness and gun violence. We will also feature visually stunning data bytes from our colleagues at GRAPH addressing the social fault lines along which gun violence occurs.

Elevate the conversation.

Dana March
Dana March, Editor-in-Chief of the2x2project, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her research addresses the ways in which our social lives and where we live shape population health and how we respond to interventions. She has particular interests in urbanization and the social fault lines of health, like race and class. March has written for Newsweek and her work has been featured in Scientific American. She is a 2014-15 Public Voices Fellow at Columbia University Medical Center. Follow her on Twitter @Dana_March. Email her at

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