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Révolutionnaire Team

Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue

By: Hannah Ravenell


Public Health can be defined as a science encompassing and prioritizing, health and safety interests of the general public, and the subsequent communities they belong to (American Public Health Association). Public Health interests usually involve the strengthening of protections already in place as well as the advocating for further needed responses and programs. As this is a broad study, a variety of interests, jobs, and social structures fall within the criteria of public health, particularly surrounding the communities, their resources and the betterment of those within them. 


The nature of Public Health and it’s subsequent studies, of course denotes the existence of public health failures and concerns. One such public health crisis that is not often referred to or studied as such is the issue of gun violence. While almost always interpreted as an issue in general for obvious reasons, gun violence is less frequently perceived as a public health crisis. 


Once reflected on, it becomes quite easy to see how gun violence is actually a quintessential public health concern as it strikes at the heart of public and communal saftey. The existence of gun violence often interrupts the proceedings of safe, healthy and whole futures, which are the intended assurances of public health investments.


Gun violence represents the inherently intersectional and nuanced nature. An example of this is the frequency with which gun violence typically occurs on any given day here in the United States. Early reporting has shown that 2020’s gun violence, involved around 100 people dying and at least 200 more being injured daily as a result of firearm related harm (TIME 2021). These numbers are even more significant when contextualized with the nature of the COVID 19 pandemic that occurred at the same time as their recording. How might the inherent isolation, loneliness and sorrow of the pandemic have altered and amplified these numbers is a significant question. One that becomes more prominent when it’s considered that the frequency of gun involved homicides & suicides actually increased by 10% in the same year, 2020 (TIME 2021). 


The call for a public health lens with which to view gun violence is clear. It would seem that the measures we have implemented and relied on prior are failing and falling short of the cause they’re intended to serve. 


To address the needs of communities specifically an overhaul of the way we currently address public health crises, such as gun violence, is required. For one, a direct centering of victims of gun related violence would be a great start. Policy and legislation is often far removed from those affected, so much so that the direct needs of victims and their families are obfuscated in favor of other external priorities. A centering of those harmed, or the families of such victims, allows for a more nuanced and effective method of addressing these instances of harm. Mobilization efforts to address and ultimately combat this harm ought always to be grounded in community as all else falls insufficient in the greater landscape of harm prevention. 


An additional facet is addressing the structures that can be seen as causing or necessitating the violence that often occurs. Often public health measures are incredibly intertwined and deep running. Meaning the superficial and more obvious issues we might readily see and want to address, are grounded by deeper more structural issues and institutions. 


A truly interdisciplinary and effective approach to gun violence, specifically employing a public health focus, would involve the analyzing and deconstruction of systems that feed into and necessitate the use of guns for various degrees of violence. This is something that requires a depth of time and and intentionality in order to be properly executed and it currently isn’t something we see readily being employed as frequently. With the awareness of alternatives in approaches, we have taken the first step in moving towards something truly powerful.



“Domestic Violence and Firearms.” The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, 28 Oct. 2020,


“NCADV: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.” The Nation's Leading Grassroots Voice on Domestic Violence,


“The Psychological Wounds of Domestic Violence - Therapy Blog.” Google, Google,


“Types of Domestic Violence |.” |, 13 Feb. 2019,


“What Is Domestic Abuse?” United Nations, United Nations,


1 Comment

Yes! @hravenell8906 - I am so passionate about this topic. Gun violence is a public health issue and must be confronted as such. That also means ensuring there are adequate funds allocated to gun violence prevention. And on that note, I really appreciated @Nia's article on the subject "Gun Violence Research Funding"