Vol. 277 June 1, 2022 “Deja Vu All Over Again”

June 1, 2022
21 killed and 17 injured in Uvalde, Texas school shooting: May 2022

Vol. 188 March 1, 2018 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre #2

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Chicago, Ill. 1929:
7 gangsters killed.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Parkland, Fla. 2018:
17 kids & staff killed.

Firearm safety is a public health issue”
-Massachusetts Medical Society, February 2018

The 1929 massacre was partly responsible for the 1934 Illinois and 1935 Federal laws regulating machine guns. The laws actually did NOT ban the guns, They taxed them! The tax was $200 (about equivalent of $8000 today) and the annual license to own one was also very expensive. It effectively doubled the price of a Tommy gun, the gangsters favorite. In 1986 the sale of fully automatic guns was prohibited by federal law “except those already existing in owners hands” that were grandfathered in.

This year’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was the 30th mass shooting (more than 4 victims) in 2018 . . . so far. It was also the 17th time a gun had been fired on school grounds in 2018 . . . so far. AND on February 14, 2018 there were 28 additional gun deaths elsewhere in our country.

[During this 2022 Memorial Day weekend there were 11 mass shootings in America; 7 people killed, 49 injured in Chattanooga, TN, or Merced County, CA, or Port Richmond, PA, or Taft, OK. At the Pennsylvania site 47 shell casings were found!

[The number of firearm-related deaths in the U.S. reached a peak of 45,222 in for 2020. For the first time ever firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of injuries in children age 1-19 years in 2020, surpassing the perennial “winner” of motor vehicle crashes.]

A relevant model of effective action for decreasing gun-related deaths and injuries is the decrease in auto fatalities resulting from multiple laws and regulations, technological advances, and public education (Seat belts, airbags, speed limits, car cameras, etc.)

Smart gun technology  now exists to make guns safe, but they would still allow the owner to “repel any invaders of his house . . . or country”,  and might cut the number of gun injuries by 50%. Reducing mass homicides would require more regulation of automatic guns.

[The number of legally manufactured guns in 2021 in America is triple that of 2000. The federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, and was not renewed. Glock-type semi-automatic hand guns have outsold hunting rifles since 2009. In 2021 police recovered 19,334 “ghost guns”, 10 times more than that recovered in 2016, ie. enforcement officials have recognized the ghost gun “problem” for five years! ]

Organized Medicine’s new [2018] recommendations are to focus on gun safety.
1. Physicians should talk to their patients and families about gun accessibility, storage, and safety in the home.

2. The CDC should be allowed to conduct gun violence research (collect and analyze data)  like in any other public health epidemic.

3. Increase federally funded research on this “urgent health care crisis” of gun violence.

Many physicians belong to the NRA, “and that’s OK”. A physician friend of mine from Massachusetts was interviewing for a medical license by a physician panel in New Mexico. The chairwoman, noting his home state, asked him if he knew about gun control in New Mexico. He pleaded ignorance, and she responded, “A steady hand. Would you like an application to the NRA?”

Next blog: A theory about why so many school shootings are happening and several myths and facts about preventing more (aka “sea.20, epi.278” for you streaming aficionados).

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